Saturday, November 24, 2007

Please, people, welcome me to the 90’s

I picked up Janet Evanovich’s “Two for the Dough” at Steeple People, this used store in my neighborhood that’s practically like a garage sale. It was 50 cents, and I thought, now I can see what fuss is about and if I hate it, who cares?

Wow, that was two quarters very well spent, and Ms. Stephanie Plum has been upgraded to the status of series to follow, even books to buy at a bookstore, or to get in an exciting box from Amazon.

First of all, I totally expected the whole big hair Joisey girl shtick to be overdone, but it wasn’t. It was wonderfully subtle, charming. The dialogue felt authentic.

At one point the mother says:

“You should get a real job. Something steady with normal hours. Your cousin Marjorie got a nice secretarial job with J and J. I hear she makes big money.”

This dialogue is so simple, but when I read it, I hear an accent. Maybe it’s the clipped sentences. It’s as if the rhythm of the speech, the music itself, creates the accent, so Evanovich doesn’t rely on phonetic spelling. Like I did with Joisey. Or this:

“Kenny Mancuso is a bum,” my mother said. “All those Morelli and Mancuso men are trash. You can’t trust a one of them.”

Lisa Dale over at Book Anatomy 101 makes an interesting comment on an older post about Evanovich’s Trenton setting being “branded” and I really thought that was smart. A brand is something familiar and friendly you feel good about. That's how I feel about this setting. I feel like that about the Sookie Stackhouse world, too. (Actually, on that post, Dale has a whole interesting analysis of what makes the Plum series such a success.)

The hero, Morelli, hit just the right, very subtle note with me, too. A decent and witty guy with, from what I can tell in #2, a roguish past, but deserves another chance. Is he in all the Plum books? I understand we’re up to thirteen. Should I read these in order? Should I go back to #1?

I love when I find a new author and series, a whole mess of books arrayed before me, hours of fun.


Dev said...

Joe and Ranger are both in all of the Stephanie Plum books. I'd read the books in order, but that's just me. I'm anal that way. Truly, I'm not sure that you'd miss anything if you read them out of order, either. But, the first chapter in One for the Dough is my favorite, just because of the train part. You'll understand once you've read it. :-)

lisabea said...

Ok. Straight up the best are the first 4, which retain that sort of darkness that make them appealing. Then they get campy for a while. 9 is solid and spooky and dark, dark, dark. I think she found her stride again after 9. I do love these books. My very bestest friend in the world is from Jersey and, while she's more of a granola eating birkenstock wearing theatre girl, I still feel her in every book.

Ranger or Morelli? Ranger. Every time.

Carolyn Jean said...

Well, thanks so much for the input! I'll definitely backtrack to #1-for that train scene, thanks for the heads up, dev, and then onward. And you, lisabea, with your Ranger. Ranger wasn't much in this book,but color me alerted.