Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Four-star review of Miss Fix It by Olivia Ventura

This book made me chuckle out loud several times; I liked that. The novel is written in a first person point of view (POV), and the main character, Veronica Castellette, talked directly to me, the reader, like she expected verbal feedback as she related her story. It’s an interesting approach that added an extra layer of involvement as I read through the plot.

Veronica is a strong-willed woman who exchanged her career as an economist to become a handyperson and carpenter. She designs her own coveralls, making them colorful and feminine, and has a custom-made pink hammer hanging from her tool belt. She is caught up in the ebb and flow of everyday life, just making a living, as she flits from topic to topic and job to job (and offers parenthetical comments on almost everything she does or thinks).

Reading this book is like listening in on a young woman’s thought processes. Her thinking and actions sometimes seem odd from an old man’s perspective, but they are cute and often funny, like I might expect from one of my granddaughters. The plot is not deep (60% of the book can be summarized as: “girl meets boy and they sleep together”), but the flippant nature of Veronica, the relationships she has with friends and family, and her decision-making processes kept me interested. I wasn’t too surprised by the ending, but again, the real meat of the story is in how it is told and in Veronica’s spunky attitude, not in the plot or the outcome.

Overall, Miss Fix It is a fun read. You will laugh. You will enjoy Veronica and the demands she places on the police who try to protect her. That she would use her pink hammer to threaten a pervert who makes an advance on her seemed justified, but it didn’t seem fair that the police would drag her in for questioning on observing her raised hammer from a police car across the street. You would think those things could be sorted out on the spot, but maybe Veronica’s smart mouth had something to do with her detention. The girl has a quick wit and a clever way of putting people down when her ire rises. She’s also a taxpayer who expects the most for her tax dollars, especially from the police.

Frankly, I was tempted to rate this novel with five stars, but I didn’t because the grammar put me off, especially the extensive use of dashes for periods and commas. I know. I know. The book is presented from Veronica’s point of view, and the girl thinks in dashes, not commas and periods. Still, there are rules. Grammar aside, the book is definitely worth reading. It had a happy ending. I laughed; it made me feel good. As a comedy writer, I believe those are the most important elements a writer can achieve.

Reviewed by James L. Hatch, author of The Substitute.

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