“Crossing Washington Square” by Joanne Rendell

Let me say how disappointed I was in this book.  First of all, I was interested to read about two women working in academia at fictional Manhattan U.  The main protagonist, Rachel, is a new Assistant Professor who focuses on literature and how chick lit in today’s culture is actually hidden scholarship.  Sure, ummm ok.  I read chick-lit every once in a while, but I think that assumption is a stretch.  Then there is Diana who is from England, is from a poor yet hard-working back ground, and is extremely snobby.  She of course specializes in Sylvia Plath, so I knew right there this character was going to be hum-drum and depressing.  Add in the perfect male figures to round out the romance, deception, and “does he like me, that handsome devil?” and you have half of this book.  The main focus of the book is that these two women unnaturally despise each other and are thrust into going on a study abroad trip with a handful of students to London.  As the trip progresses, you can only just read and imagine how these characters would constantly get fired over their terrible and rude decisions.  No, I don’t live in a world without rules, and I doubt these characters do too.  Ridiculous.  I did enjoy one part of the book believe it or not.  Even though this is somewhat of a modern-day Sense and Sensibility, this book clarified the main focus of chick-lit.  Almost every single chick-lit book is based on a formula that comes from literature.  Most chick-lit books are Pride and Prejudice over and over.  Every once in a while you get a hint of Emma, but usually your protagonist is a strong woman who is desperately looking for love and eventually finds it.  The man will not discipline or control her, but instead love and cherish her and not have her change to be with him.  Well, most of the chick lit books try to do this.

Anyway, I got this book on sale, so I wouldn’t really recommend it.  Too much needy women syndrome and not enough “I am woman, hear me roar!”

Jen’s Rating: **

And yes, one major reason I read this book is because the main character’s name is Rachel Grey.  If you don’t know what this means, then keep walking.

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