It Had To Be You, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

>> Monday, May 12, 2003

Last week I finished It Had To Be You, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

The windy city isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville—the trendy, outrageous and curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not prepared for the Stars' head coach Dan Celbow — an Alabama-born former gridiron legend and blond barbarian.

Calebow is everything Phoebe abhors — a sexist, jock tacskmaster with a one-track mind. The beautiful new boss is everything Dan despises — a meddling bimbo whos doesn't know pigskin from a pitcher's mound, So why is he drawn to the shameless sexpot like a heat-seeking missile? And why does Dan's good ol'boy charm leave cosmpolitan Pheobe feeling awkward, tongue-tied and frightened to death?

Ok, I hated this book at the beginning. I hate "good old boys" like her father, and Dan seemed to be one. I don't like American football (part of it is the sheer outrage that they call it just "football", when the real football is the beautiful game my Nacional plays, not this one ;-), and, unlike This Heart of Mine, which took place mainly off-season, this one seemed like it was going to be pretty much all american football. I hated that Phoebe was so obviously a faux whore, and that she seemed to become stupid whenever Dan was in front of her, and that she'd let herself be manipulated by her father's will. And I hated that Dan was looking for a kind of baby-making machine while still lusting after Phoebe and having sex with his ex (BTW, the scene where the ex dresses up like a schoolgirl seriously creeped me out).

Quite a list of grievances, huh? But somehow, SEP managed to change my mind completely and just love this book. In fact, it ended up being an A read. It was a LOL book, and the best kind of comedy, since its idea of humour didn't involve making Phoebe look stupid. In fact, I had the most fun when she was being very smart taking advantage of men. The scene where she and Ron con Dan into rehiring Ron as general manager was great, and the best was when she renegotiates the stadium contract. I was ready to stand up and applaud when she was done with them!

And I adored how Dan reacted to all this. Most of the times he took it with humour and actually enjoyed the fact that she'd been able to manipulate everyone. This was a guy who was alpha, but who wasn't an idiot and was perfectly capable of admitting his mistakes and apologizing for them. He completely won me over during their first love scene, with the way he was willing to indulge Phoebe.

The secondary characters were especially wonderful. I'm very much looking forward to reading Bobby Tom's story. I've had it in my TBR pile for ages, and it didn't tempt me much, but those days are over!

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