Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie
Description: “Dumped by her boyfriend and demoted from WBBB’s prime-time spot, radio producer Allie McGuffey has nowhere to go but up. She plans to make her comeback by turning temporary DJ Charlie Tenniel into a household name. And if he’s willing to help cure her breakup blues with a rebound fling, that’s an added bonus.
Charlie just wants to kick back, play good tunes and eat Chinese food. He’s not interested in becoming famous. But he is interested in Allie. And after all, what harm is a little chemistry between friends?
But suddenly their one-night stand has become a four-week addiction. Night after night on the airwaves, his voice seduces her…and all the other women in town. He’s a hit. It looks as if Charlie’s solved all Allie’s problems…except one. What is she going to do when he leave?”
I just finished listening to Charlie All Night as an audio-book. I have about a 45 minute commute to and from work and audio-books are the best way to alleviate the monotonous boredom of my daily trek.
I’ve only recently discovered the joys and humor of Jennifer Crusie. I had read The Cinderella Deal a few years ago but didn’t continue to read her work. Then, two months ago, I found an audio-book of Bet Me at the library and the rest was history. My next foray into the worlds of Jennifer Crusie was Charlie All Night.
I’ll start out by saying that Charlie All Night is no Bet Me. Crusie’s humor is present throughout the book but listening to this book after Bet Me, something just falls short. There were parts of this book that weren’t believable and just seemed to be thrown in to keep the plot moving. For example, Ally meets Charlie at a bar and picks him up to avoid an awkward conversation with her ex (and boss who just demoted her). Charlie, of course, turns out to be the new DJ who Ally will be working with. That part is fine although I do question Ally’s tendency to get involved with co-workers. Seriously, isn’t there something in the company’s handbook about employee relationships? What bothered me was that Ally and her roommate, Joe, invited Charlie to sleep on their couch after one dinner conversation. Sure, he’s a new co-worker and all but inviting someone to live on your couch for an entire month is a little ridiculous.
The other major plot fail was the reason behind Charlie’s arrival at the radio station. Essentially, his father’s college roommate (the radio station owner) hires him to investigate a threatening letter the station receives. Charlie, who apparently bounces from job to job without settling down, and who can clearly see his father’s manipulation, agrees to help out, despite never being on the radio before. Without spoiling the ‘mystery’ he is supposed to solve, this plot point was a little thin and made the pace of the story seem forced.
Okay, now that I’ve ranted about the parts that bothered me, let me explain why I did like the book.
1. Watching the relationship between Charlie and Ally bloom. While I had problems with the plot, I did like watching Ally and Charlie slowly fall in love. They did fall into bed fast, and get stuck in a rut of sleeping together without building a relationship. However, once Ally realizes that and a celibacy bet occurs, they start to learn more about each other and the foundation for their relationship is formed.
2. A host of excellent supporting characters. From Ally’s obnoxious ex-boyfriend Mark, who tries, and fails, to copy Charlie as he becomes a successful DJ to Grady, the pot-smoking, Georgian chant playing late night DJ, to Joe, Ally’s roommate who only allows her to order food at restaurants that he hates to cook.
3. Adorable puppy. And the hero playing Billy Joel so the puppy will eat. Tugging at all of the heartstrings
4. Random political issues that Charlie stumbles into just by making observations about the town on the radio. And the assortment of calls from the townspeople.
All together, I’d have to rate this book at a solid 3. The romance is there and the minor characters are great. But the plot requires too much suspension of belief to truly make it a great story. The points that drive the plot seem forced and the characterization of the hero and heroine just fall too short. The story itself seemed too short and while I did support Ally and Charlie as a couple, I didn’t buy that she was reason enough for him to end his fear of permanency. Maybe if I hadn’t listened to this book right after Bet Me, my opinions would have been different. But this just wasn’t my favorite Jennifer Crusie book.
Rating: 4 out of 5.