Girls’ Poker Night by Jill A. Davis

154831I wanted to like this book. It’s chick lit. It’s girls playing poker. It takes place in New York. The author used to work for Letterman. It has all the elements that would seem to make it a quick read to make me forget about the hundreds of pages of reading for class that I have to do.

But alas this is not the case. I spent much of the book, skimming through, hoping to find the plot. I kept waiting for something to happen. For the girl to get the guy, to do well at the job, to have outrageous fun with the awesome friends. But it never really happened. It was a snapshot out of a mundane (though a City dweller) person’s life. She could have been me – unfortunately, a lot of what she thought and did was me. Perhaps that’s why I had trouble getting through it – I read to escape my life, not watch it from the outside looking in.

There were, of course, highlights. Little gems, hidden in the pages of confusing pronouns and too many interchangeable characters. Like this on page 7:

I had one foot out the door; all I needed was a push…that’s when I looked in one of his kitchen drawers. That was it for me. His dirty little secret. You know those plastic squares with holes in them used to close bread bags? Well, he had like a couple hundred of them in his drawer. No exaggeration. I mean, where is he putting all of this bread, that’s what I want to know.
“What’s this all about?” I said, holding up sixty or seventy bread ties.
“I–I–might need them sometime,” he said, and his face got really red, like he knew that I’d uncovered the secret tip of the psychotic iceberg.

And for whatever reason, this little paragraph on page 61 really spoke to me – I think I’ve had this thought before:

Dork! It was sappy, in the way that the simplest truth can sometimes be. He didn’t care that it was sappy. And so I had no choice but to fall deeply and completely in love with him. He was my nebbish renegade of sap in a too-tough world.

I found good advice on page 101:

Be prepared when all of your worlds collide. Make sure you have rainbow-colored cigarettes, ice cream-colored dresses, and potent fruity drinks. You’ll need them all.

As the book wore on, I realized that it wasn’t at all what I thought it was going to be. I started to identify with too many of the characters and not in the “I wish I had her shoes” kind of way. More in the “OMG, that’s my life and holy crap, that’s not good at all” kind of way. Because on page 130, I would totally feel the same way, in either character’s place:

I read the letter, and it says thanks for submitting your short story; unfortunately, it’s not right for us. Am I missing something?
“It’s a rejection letter…” I say.
“Yeah!” she says, all thrilled. “Can you believe they wrote to me?”
It was just the saddest thing, and it absolutely broke my heart. But maybe it shouldn’t have. Maybe the letter made her feel like a writer. Maybe in a way it was a very valuable letter. A letter that made her feel connected to the world she wanted to live in. I should have related to it; instead it just seemed sad. Perspective, I guess, is everything.

I cried at the end (or just near it) and I wasn’t really sure why. I just saw myself too much.

This book was nothing like I expected. I didn’t care for the style, the romance, even the main character some of the time. And yet, I feel like this book moved me. Maybe I’m just in a mood – I don’t want it to mean anything to me. But it does.