The Boyfriend School by Sarah Bird is a buried treasure read. I read this book about maybe three or four years ago and at that time the book was sadly out of print. Now it’s available again and if you haven’t read it, you should because it is a satire of the romance industry that is both funny and touching with a bittersweet romance.
Here is the back blurb:
Gretchen Griner is an underpaid, under appreciated photographer for the Austin (that’s Texas) Grackle, part-time lover of Peter Overton Treadwell III (known as “Trout”), and major consumer of Cup O’ Soup. That is, until she meets Lizzie Potts—otherwise known as Viveca Lamoureaux, romance writer extraordinaire. Lizzie has a plan for Gretchen’s life—and it includes Lizzie’s brother Gus. But Gretchen has her own plan, and it does not feature a “wispy goon” named Gus. Of course, fate also has a plan for Gretchen, and it doesn’t care what Gretchen wants. So Lizzie will give Gretchen Gus, Gus will give Gretchen the man of her dreams, and among this oddball cast of marvelous misfits, someone just may discover the secret to true romance.
The book’s humor may/may not suit everyone. It’s black humor, not slapstick. I hate slapstick humor. Anyway, the book is very engaging and what I loved about it was the satire of the romance industry, the romance work shops, all the different pen names of the published authors and running into the aspiring writers who are excited about a new line that is taking submissions.
Gretchen is handed an assignment to cover the Romance Convention and goes there intentionally to make fun of it. She runs into a couple of authors who she ends up befriending and leaves the convention with new-found respect for the genre and two new friends. The funny parts are watching Gretchen write her first romance because how hard can it be, eh? Gretchen’s attempts at writing the novel was hilarious as she has her leads in bed by page 4. Where is the contrivance? The conflict? Gretchen’s like: what’s that? The question is: does Gretchen meet the hero of her dreams? Read more to find out.
Reader response is varied as many don’t get the humor. Must warn that the romance is not the focus which is why it’s labeled fiction. I loved it and it’s a must read for every romance reader/writer out there who doesn’t mind the jab at romance genre. Grab your copy today and watch Gretchen write her very first romance novel (how she picks the setting, the hero/heroine’s names, etc). You won’t be disappointed and if you are, hey, don’t blame me.