sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

September 20, 2010

into the stacks: practice makes perfect
posted by soe 12:30 am

Practice Makes Perfect by Julie James

From the jacket: “When it comes to the laws of attraction, Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged , and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face-to-face, they’re perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they have kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as coworkers for one reason only: to make partner at the firm.”

My take: Ah! Boy and girl meet. Boy and girl passionately hate each other. Boy and girl have to spend lots of time together pretending to like each other. Boy and girl discover the passion was not hate after all. The end.

It’s a formula we’re all familiar with, but we always enjoy seeing how an author makes it his or her own.

Julie James does a good job with pacing and dialogue. And her main characters definitely have chemistry together. The story unfolds as the two of them discover that after eight long years as associates together, they will not both make partner as had been long assumed by everyone. Instead, only one would make partner, while the other will be expected to hand over his or her case notes and quietly and quickly disappear into the sunset. They’re neck and neck in their race, they’re told, and the final two weeks before the decision is made will determine the outcome. When asked to woo a potential client, the two nemeses will have to find a way to put their strong feelings aside to work together. And if they can do that, who knows what other crazy things will follow?

However, what I found eye-rollingly annoying was the story’s hook: Payton, a self-proclaimed feminist liberal vegetarian, finds herself spurning the nice guy public defender in favor of the guy who belongs to a sexist country club. I’m not saying that’s it’s not a valid choice — either in fiction or in real life — but just that it’s not one I find appealing — or sexy. And Payton is no Katharine Hepburn, able to make me love her characters even though all of her seemingly female empowering movies end with the traditional status quo untoppled.

I won this book and a gift card to Barnes and Noble in a contest at Stacy’s Place on Earth. It’s not my normal reading genre, but it was a convenient size for carrying in my bag on the metro and its story fit well with the read a few pages at a time type of reading my normal commute permits. Honestly, though, I liked it more than I expected to and found myself picking it up even at home. Worth a read if you have a few hours and want some book candy.

Pages: 291

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