Monday, January 25, 2010

How Not to Make a Wish by Mindy Klasky

It took me a long time to finish this book, which is odd because I skimmed most of it. I skimmed most of it because most of it isn't worth reading. But that's the same reason why I kept putting it down and refusing to pick it up for days. I nearly stopped reading it about a hundred times.

I'm sorry, but there's no way to make this sound nice: this book is terrible. Not only is it unimaginative, boring, witless, and cliche-ridden, it's extraordinarily badly written. It's told in first person, which Klasky has interpreted as a license to tell-not-show; not a single conversation goes by in the book without a paragraph or two in between every line of dialogue telling us something that should have been shown instead--or just deleted. There's so much exposition between every sentence every character speaks that I frequently lost track of who had said what, and of course the already lackluster pace of the novel (in which very little happens) just dragged.

Kira Franklin is a stage manager at a dinner theater that's closing. She's on the verge of being out of a job, which means she'll have to bow to her father's wish that she go to law school, when she finds an old brass lamp among the props of a production of Kismet. Of course she rubs the lamp, and up pops a genie named Teel. Naturally, her first wish is for her dream job--and let's face it, Kira does not dream big. She just wants to be stage manager at another local theater.

The set-up might have been interesting if the characters were even remotely appealing, but they're not. Kira is shallow, immature, and dumb as a hammer. She's obsessed with her weight--since being jilted by her fiance a year ago, she's gained 30 pounds and acts like she looks like someone who ought to have her own show on the freak channel. So naturally enough, her second wish is to lose the weight she's gained since her failed wedding.

Spoiler alert--I can't let this go, so I'm going to give away Kira's third wish. Since she's spent the first half of the book having a schoolgirl crush on an actor, it was no surprise that her third wish was for him to fall in love with her. Except that it was a surprise, because how obvious and stupid could the plot be? I really had thought that Kira would start to show some growth by the third wish, but she ignored Teel's advice and made the wish, and of course it was precisely as disastrous as you can imagine. Only not as interesting as I bet you're thinking.

Frankly, the book would have been better if there had been no genie in it at all, no magic lamp, no wishes. I'd have respected Kira more if she'd managed to land the job on her own, lost the weight on her own, and manipulated the actor into a relationship on her own. As it is, Kira shows no initiative whatsoever. Even the solution to her problems has to come as a deus ex machina--another spoiler alert; I'm about to give away the ending here. The genie forgot to tell her that she has four wishes, not three.

I wish I hadn't read this book, how's that? I could go on and on about how excruciatingly bad it is, but I'm tired of wasting time on it.

B&N link


Lertulo said...

Hahahaha! The best part of this review was the Amazon link at the bottom. Oh boy! I need to rush out and pick up a copy! 8-)

K.C. Shaw said...

Get two! That way you can make twice the paper airplanes than if you only get one!