Title: Engaging Men
Author: Lynda Curnyn
Release Date: May 1, 2003
Publisher: Red Dress Ink
Genre: Chick Lit
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
When one ex-boyfriend gets married, a girl can laugh it off. With two, she begins to get nervous. But three? Three?
Angie DiFranco is starting to take it personally. What is it about her that doesn't incite men to plunk down large sums of money in the name of eternal love?
According to her one successfully married friend, men are like tight lids. One woman comes along, loosens him up, leaving him for the next woman to pop off the lid, no problem. After all, would Jennifer have landed Brad so easily without the Gwyneth factor?
Suddenly Angie looks at Kirk, her current boyfriend, with new eyes. Kirk, whose last girlfriend loosened his lid by giving him The Ultimatum. Kirk, who suddenly seems primed to be popped right open.
If the tight-lid theory is true, Angie could be married within a year -- with a little effort. And a little help from her friends . . .
I don’t remember where I first heard about Engaging Men, but I remember reading a rave review of it that really made me want to read it. Since it’s out of print, I bought it used sometime last year and it has been sitting on my shelf since then. I was desperately searching for a book published in 2003 to complete the Countdown Challenge, and Engaging Men fit the bill.
My favorite part of Engaging Men was Angie. I thought she was a wonderful chick lit heroine. She was smart and funny, but she was also ambitious and wanted to improve her lot in life. Though she was in a professional rut when the book starts, she finds the strength to pull herself out of it. I also liked that Angie became more and more unsure of herself the closer she got to having everything she thought she wanted.
Indeed, this entire book is about taking chances versus playing it safe. At the beginning, Angie is in sort of a cocoon, swaddled in her comfortable, safe life. It’s once she starts to take risks that she begins to realize what she really wants and what will make her happy.
Engaging Men is a frothy, light book that is supposed to be read for pure enjoyment. However, the author tries to take it up a notch by introducing multiple characters, each with their own storyline. As a result, there are too many characters in this novel. Additionally, because there are so many, none are explored in depth and there is little real character development besides that of Angie herself.
Additionally, Engaging Men is simply too long. It could be 50-100 pages shorter and still achieve the same result. The author tries to introduce conflict at the very end of the novel, and it just doesn’t work. The book would have been much better had that part been cut out.
While Engaging Men was an entertaining read, I can’t really recommend it above the other chick lit books out there. However, if you’re a big fan of chick lit and are looking for something you haven’t read yet, this probably would be a good book to pick up if you find it at a used book store!