Review: Slapshot of Love by Gary Pearson

slapshot of loveReviewed by Janell

This is a romantic comedy about a Canadian reality dating show. It’s like The Bachelor, only starring a hockey player, and it highlights everything that viewers love (and love to hate) about that show. The author has written for MadTV, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, and other comedy shows, winning several awards. I figured that, with those credentials, the book would be amusing, and I was not disappointed.

Geri lives in Hamilton, which she describes as the District 12 to Toronto’s Capitol. She’s in a comfortably boring relationship and works at a nursing home where a retired police officer is sleeping his way through the sexy old ladies and spreading yeast infections. Geri is beloved, she works with her roommate, things are going… just fine. But she finds herself thinking she needs to make some changes. Then her rich bitch cousin Meaghan needs Geri to drive her to an audition for a modeling job.

The waiting room for the job actually turns out to be an audition for a reality dating show, and Geri figures out that the group of lovely women is being watched through a one-way mirror. When she tries to rally the women into sticking up for themselves, they instead turn on her and fight to be on the show. The producers cast Geri as a foil to her cousin, as the outspoken one, or, as Meaghan puts it, “the fat one.”

The taping of the show allows the author to mock everything about the culture of reality stars. When discussing a contract with Jenny Craig: “You take a year to get fat, and then get the deal to get skinny. That’s how it works.” When Geri asks what happened to feminism on the show: “Long forgotten. We gave it up for designer shoes.” When discussing the man that they’ll all supposedly fall in love with: “Just because he’s rich and handsome and successful, doesn’t mean he’s necessarily a douche.”

The only part of this book that I didn’t believe was the idea that the show was being filmed in real time, and the women weren’t sequestered. Geri wasn’t required to live in the mansion full-time, and she wasn’t constantly supervised or filmed. The author/producer’s excuse was that the real time was a response to social media, but I still think that these shows need a lot more lag time to craft fake story arcs and control the cast. Then again, this is Canada, they might do things differently there.

This is more of a comedy than a romance. Geri does manage some alone time with bachelor, and she seems to really like him. But she’s more interested in how she can improve her lot in life than in falling for a guy. Because of that, the ending is unexpected. It’s still happy, but because the entire book is kind of a satire, it can’t have a traditional ending. Read it for the humor, and you’ll find yourself laughing on just about every page.

Rating: B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

Slapshot of Love
by Gary Pearson
Release Date: October 10, 2013

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