Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Review: "One for the Money" by Janet Evanovich

I've been reading serious books lately (George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice & Fire" series, if you MUST know), but over my post-Christmas mini-break, I decided I needed to turn my brain off and read something silly.

Luckily, I had the perfect book on my long list of books to read ... "One for the Money" by Janet Evanovich, the first novel featuring Evanovich's incredibly popular character Stephanie Plum.

(Photo from Wikipedia)

Plum is well-loved by fans - Evanovich just released "Explosive Eighteen." I decided to read "One for the Money" not only because I'd never read a Janet Evanovich book before and felt like I should, but also because later this month, they're releasing a movie based on the book and I wanted to be able to compare them. After all, Mom always said that you should read the book before you see the movie!

"One for the Money" follows Stephanie, a divorced, down-on-her-luck New Jersey woman. When the novel opens, she's lost her job, pawned most of her stuff and gotten her car repossessed. So, to make some money, she gets a job from her cousin, Vinnie, a bail bondsman. She's supposed to bring in Joe Morelli, a tough cop suspected of shooting somebody. Stephanie is totally lost as to how to do this, and to add to her problems, she has a bit of a history with Morelli. She does get help from fellow bounty hunter Ranger, but she gets into some pretty crazy situations.

I enjoyed "One for the Money" for its breezy quality. It was an incredibly easy read, especially compared to the brick-like novels I've been reading lately. I did have to roll my eyes at Stephanie several times, because she does get herself into some pretty stupid situations, but she's also tough and resourceful. I liked her commitment to her new job and her desire to do things without just calling Ranger or the police to help her. I few times I did feel like Stephanie was almost too stupid, and I didn't really always understand why she wasn't harder on Morelli. She definitely did several things throughout the novel that I wouldn't have done. But, I also felt like she grew as a character as the book went along, and by the end her decisions seemed more natural.

"One for the Money" was never quite laugh-out-loud hilarious, although I think that's what Evanovich was going for, but there were a lot of funny situations that really did make me smile and giggle a little bit. Like I said, it was a breezy, easy read, and when you're in the mood for that, this is a good book to pick up. I will probably read "Two for the Dough" at some point, and I will be interested to see how I feel about Stephanie as she continues her quest. I know a lot of people (including my grandmother) who absolutely love these novels, and I can see why, even if I'm not quite as gaga over them yet.

As for making it into a movie, I can definitely see why they're doing it. They don't have a terribly complicated plot and there's a lot of action and a likable heroine. Rewatching the trailer, I can see how this could be a great little winter distraction. I'm actually the most surprised that it took this long to make a movie - the novel came out in 1994 and was optioned pretty quickly after that. While it probably won't become a classic for the ages or anything, I do think that "One for the Money" has a good chance of being a pretty popular, fun little movie.

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