Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Perfect on Paper by Maria Murnane

Perfect on Paper: The (Mis)adventures of Waverly Bryson
by Maria Murnane
(c) 2008
Publisher: Winks Ink

genre: chick lit; romantic comedy

This charming story was just the thing to take the sting out of the first several days of a doctor ordered mobility restriction. When I was told to stay off my left leg as much as possible and keep it elevated last week, I was really discouraged and tempted to be blue but that mood could not be sustained under the force of the witty dialogue and hilarious, sometimes slapstick shenanigans of Waverly Bryson the protagonist of Maria Murnane's romantic comedy.

Waverly is in her late twenties, has a high-power job in PR for the sports industry the envy of many for the close collaboration with celebrity athletes it entails. She has a rent-controlled apartment in a swanky San Francisco neighborhood near the Golden Gate Bridge. She's about to be married to Aaron Vaughn III, the scion of an affluent local family who, having followed his parents into corporate law, already had two homes of his own and lived a lifestyle as far removed from the trailer park of her childhood as Cinderella's home had been from that of her Prince. And she had two loyal, close friends with whom to gush over how perfect it all was. Perfect...on paper.

Those two loyal friends, McKenna and Andie, are there to catch her when it all starts unraveling two weeks before the wedding when Aaron backs out, supporting her through months of mourning and gently encouraging her to get back in the dating scene. When she does finally venture out on dates again, they are there to commiserate with her over the many fiascos that ensue. The three of them laugh til they cry over the many social faux pas of these guys. They are there to help with every crisis from fashion to fractured ankle.

Waverly is a bit of a klutz and that tendency is enhanced whenever a certain Jake McIntyre, one of the ball players she encountered through her job, is near. The first time they met she was choking on a Milky Way. Another time she ended up wearing a whole tray of sports arena snack food and beer, having been keeping her eyes on the field where he stood instead of the steps she was climbing to the nose-bleed section. In the middle of their first slow dance she had to rush to the restroom for a 'consultation' with the toilet of the up close and personal kind.

One of the scenes that had me choking on my own snickers was the one when she found herself trapped in a restroom stall two minutes before a very, very important interview. I will say no more. You must read it for yourself.

Meanwhile, all is not so perfect at work either. Office politics is not her forte and she finds herself passed over for an account she thought sure would be hers. Nor is her relationship with her father anywhere near perfect, with him coming up with a new scheme for making money every few months and needing her to 'invest' in it.

Waverly has a little hobby of jotting down observations about her life and life in general in a quirky little question/answer format that she imagines could be a line of greeting cards for single women. She calls them Honey Notes. They are scattered throughout the novel and also head every chapter. I found myself really looking forward to them. Here are a couple of examples:

Looking forward to a fresh start with the New Year?
Honey, I'm with you but I can't seem to leave behind my behind.

Have a tendency to put your foot in your mouth?
Honey, at least it is less fattening than putting ice cream in your mouth.

Life has its ups and downs, right?
Honey, if you're talking about my weight and my bank account, the unfortunate answer is yes, in that order.

Oh, I could so see this as a movie. Either a big screen or a Hallmark or Lifetime made-for-TV. It would be perfect for the screen as so much of the story is in the witty dialogue and the sight gags and slapstick. Since I had been watching Hallmark's Nanny Express with my Mom and sister around the time I started this book, I ended up seeing Waverly as Vanessa Marcil who played Kate.

One of the things about this book that has me the most intrigued is the fact that, after being turned down by several publishing houses and agents, Maria Murnane chose the self-publish route and seems to be making a go of it. I'm seriously considering this route for myself if I ever get a book length story completed. So I've been keeping my eye on that trend.

Get more info about the book and where to buy it on her webpage here. Or go straight to amazon.com.

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