Sunday, 25 June 2017

Review: Ride Baby Ride by Vivian Arend

2 stars

Ride Baby Ride by Vivian Arend was a trope buffet: brother's best friend, amnesiac heroine and surprise pregnancy, to name the biggest three. But it's like when you arrive to the breakfast buffet 15 minutes before it closes, and are forced to make do with the one remaining crossiant, congealed baked beans and some tinned peaches, because that's all that's left. Not a particularly great combo, especially when you have to put them on a single plate, because they've started packing the dishes away. To unpack that terrible metaphor, I basically just felt like there were lots of different tropes and elements all smushed into one short novella, and they didn't have enough space to breathe. 

When Katy breaks up with her low-life boyfriend Simon, Gage Jennick - a close friend of Katy's family - decides to make his move. It's far from ideal timing - he's  just about to leave for a gig on a oil field - but they spend the night together, and promise to continue the relationship when he returns. Except that, in the meanwhile, Katy has a car accident and loses her short-term memory, forgetting her night with Gage and situation with her ex-boyfriend. When she finds out she's pregnant, both step foward and claim to be the baby's father. Katy has to fit the pieces together, but that's hard to do when Gage is determined to win her back and prove to her that he doesn't just want her, but the baby and a long-term future as well.

There was a marked lack of development of Gage and Katy's relationship. At first, Katy is trying to hold him at bay and figure things out and and then, WHAM, they're going to spend their lives together. This was - at least in part - due to the time jumps littered throughout. Those also fell victim to my pet hate when it comes to time jumps: instead of 'two months later' or similar at the top of the chapters, it says 'November', thus requiring you to remember the month named at the previous time jump. For someone with a goldfish brain like mine, this is pretty much impossible, and I ended up skim-reading the first few pages after each time jump, looking for clues - like how much Katy's pregnancy had progressed - which would allow me to establish how much time had passed. 

There was also some toxic masculinity that interfered with my enjoyment of the story, as did the gigantic suspension of disbelief required to buy the way the external conflict comes to a climax. I'm not gonna spoil that, mainly because it's just so crazysauce I wouldn't even know where to begin, but there are some Goodreads reviews that talk about it if you are interested. 

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