Going For It, by Jo Leigh

>> Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Jo Leigh's Blazes have really worked for me so far, which is why I picked up Going For It sight unseen. This one was part of the line's launch, and is actually Blaze # 2.

Dr. Jamie Hampton talked sex -- and all of Manhattan listened. She had the hottest nighttime radio show. Her racy topics and sizzling innuendo made Jamie the number one topic around water coolers all over the city. Her motto? "Go for it!"

She was THE expert on relationships and sex -- in theory. In practice it was another matter

Bad boy Chase Newman loved talking to Jamie. On the airwaves, her voice aroused him. In person, he planned to seduce her. To teach her everything he instinctively knew she craved. So why wasn't she taking her own advice and going for it?
I really hate to say this, but if I'd read GFI when it first came out, it would have taken me quite a while to try Jo Leigh again. It wouldn't have made me refuse to try one of her books ever again, forever and ever, as certain other Blazes did, but neither would I have picked Sensual Secrets for no reason, as I did a couple of years ago. A C-.

The story hinges around sex therapist Dr. Jamie Chambers being pressured into participating in a really dumb gimmick in order to help her radio show get syndicated. That was a hugely problematic setup, since I didn't get why she simply didn't zap that monster in the bud. The whole basis of the bet is flawed.

See, Jamie maintains that there is no such thing as seduction, being overwhelmed by a man even though you don't want to. She says women should stop lying to themselves and stop calling seduction what in reality is simply them deciding that they actually want to do something even if they know they shouldn't. She says women need to stop shifting the blame and start taking responsibility for their actions. Very commendable message, IMO.

So this slimy journalist comes to her show to interview her on the air and now, this woman HATES Jamie. Just because, because Jamie is pretty and young and successful. Ok, could happen. What I couldn't get my head around is the way this woman manages to get Jamie into a bet about whether she can resist seduction. Maybe I'm missing something, but just why couldn't Jamie explain that this isn't the point of her theory? That if she sleeps with a man it's because she wants to, and that she might want to sleep with the man Darlene chooses for the task and in that case, having slept with a guy doesn't prove there is such a thing as seduction?

But she doesn't: she stutters and gets angry and completely ineffectual and next thing she knows, she's in the middle of this bet. And meets the guy who's going to try like crazy to seduce her, Chase Newman.

And Chase was the main reason the book didn't work for me, even more than the idiotic gimmick. I didn't see him as sexy and yummy and irresistible, I saw him as a sleazy creep, a total pig, a guy who cared more about getting laid than about hurting someone and destroying her career. The way he was so happy to participate in this travesty of a bet, so cocky and arrogant! Women are his hobby, apparently. His hobby!

He does turn into a better person by the end of the book, and Leigh does give good reasons for his commitment-phobia, but his actions are so reprehensible at the beginning of the book, so piggish, that it just wasn't enough. I kept marking the pages where he engaged in heinous behaviour in the first pages, and the book soon looked like a porcupine.

Jamie I did like all right. Yes, she's a virgin sex therapist (as all sex therapists seem to be in category romance), which had me groaning, but I liked what I saw of what she did and said in her show, and she did seem to know her stuff. However, I was pretty irritated by the way she had absolutely no will-power when it came to Chase's advances. The guy basically paws her in their first date and she melts.

I guess the problem was that I couldn't see anything attractive about Chase, so I couldn't really go "well, she knows she shouldn't but, come on! Can't blame her for not being able to resist such a yummy guy". And well, this basically ruined the love scenes, which I usually enjoy very much indeed in Leigh's books, because I was too busy wanting to scream at Jamie to run away from Chase as fast as she could.

Such a disappointment! It's good that I know Leigh can do much better.


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