Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Review: The Dating Bender

Summary: A hysterical dramedy about a woman unhinged and at a crossroad. “Julian’s debut takes an unabashed look at a failed marriage, divorce, and dating under the scrutiny of a less than supportive family.” —former San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Adair Lara. 

 Here I am, on my knees in front of the Trevi Fountain, hoping like hell the legend is true. That the fountain gives you solace and love by a mere toss of a coin. 

Why am I here, exactly? Let’s see… 

 It started with my parents telling me to get married. Of course, being the good Catholic girl I am, I did. 

Needless to say, that marriage nosedived, and my parents weren’t exactly happy about it. 

Newly ditched and shamefully disowned, I decided to follow the advice of Babs, a tart-of-a-mentor, who offered me a job in Colorado. 

Her advice? Sex…and lots of it. 

The temptation of freedom, to do whatever—whoever—I wanted was too damn strong for me to say no. 

And that’s how it all started. The men, the sex, the journey… 

The dating bender. 

Because everybody deserves a do-over. 

THE DATING BENDER is a hilarious satire about dysfunctional family relationships, women who love the wrong men, and one epic hunt for happiness. -- Limitless Publishing

If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you might be a little surprised to see a review for THE DATING BENDER by Christina Julian. I am the first to admit that this isn't my typical reading fare. It's not a thriller nor literary fiction. Rather it's a sexy romance -- definitely not my genre of choice. However, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and give it a try.

THE DATING BENDER tells the story of Samantha, a woman who is definitely at some sort of crossroads in her life. The book begins with her wedding, and it's clear that her parents don't exactly approve of her husband. It seems like Samantha is finally escaping her difficult childhood with her marriage; however, things go bad quickly and Samantha's marriage is over. She heads back home only to learn that her very Catholic parents immediately disown her!

Her mentor Babs, who also happens to be a bit trashy, offers her a job in Colorado... and she recommends that Samantha have lots of sex. Obviously, Samantha is all out of sorts because she takes Babs' advice to heart and starts a life of excess, especially when it comes to men and sex. Hence the name of the novel -- THE DATING BENDER.

I hardly know where to start with this review. THE DATING BENDER definitely isn't my type of book, so I'm not going to go into what I didn't like because I knew what I was getting into when I picked up a book with this description. Suffice it to say that I am not the target reader. What I will share is that the book is pretty dirty with lots of sex talk and sex scenes. Not exactly my cup of tea, but I know there's an audience out there for this book.

Instead, I will focus on the beginning and the ending of the novel -- the parts where Samantha wasn't experiencing her dating bender. I actually thought the wedding scene, and especially Samantha's terribly dysfunctional parents, were pretty funny. I also enjoyed the beginning and end of Samantha's marriage... if you can actually say "enjoy" when her marriage was falling apart. I also really enjoyed the ending of the novel -- the time when Samantha came back to earth and finally found some perspective on her life. She even had some good words of wisdom!

I also thought the debut author did a good job with writing in Samantha's voice. While I got frustrated pretty quickly with Samantha, I did think she was funny at times. I also appreciated that the story was told through her eyes. I actually think that the author's portrayal of Sam's messy life was one of the strengths of the novel.

Overall, I'm not exactly sure what my final thoughts of THE DATING BENDER are. It's definitely not a book that I'd usually pick up and I'm probably not the best person to assess its merits. What I can say is that it does have some funny scenes and I think some readers will appreciate the sex talk.

Thanks to Get Red PR for providing a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

I have a few friends who would love this!

Mystica said...

Though not the genre I would read, I like sometimes to get out of the box and read something different. This would be my choice! Thanks for the review.