Wednesday, January 25, 2012

book review: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

The backstory: One for the Money was one of my book club's selections for January.

The basics: The first in Janet Evanovich's wildly popular Stephanie Plum series, One for the Money introduces Stephanie, who was recently laid off by the lingerie company she worked for as an orderer. With bills piling up, Stephanie decides to try working for her cousin, a bounty hunter, to locate an old fling, Joe Morelli, an ex-cop and current fugitive wanted for murder, so she can collect the $10,000.

My thoughts: Originally written in 1994, One for the Money is starting to show its age somewhat. Stephanie's clothes are horribly dated. At one point she bemoans being down to her last pair of bicycle shorts. Fashion quibbles aside, I'm always fascinated to read mysteries set in earlier technological times. Car phones abound in this novel. For me, a technophile, the thought of chasing bad guys without a cell phone or car phone is truly terrifying, and in this novel the lack of access to technology heightened the fear.

As a character, Stephanie is interesting. She's at a tough time in her life, and her financial situation came off as quite contemporary. Faced with no leads in a field she'd worked in for years, she was running out of money and selling her possessions to pay her bills. For a novel partly established as realistic, Stephanie's family serve as a comic relief. I've heard these novels described as funny; I'm inclined to call them quirky. I never laughed out loud, but I did enjoy the cast of characters. Part way through the novel, I was compelled to look up the cast for the film version. It felt somewhat like the cast of characters on a television show. It reads like a series novel. Rather than setting up the personal relationships, they're firmly in place so the focus is on Stephanie and her work life.

Favorite passage: "Pride seemed out of place. Sorrow didn’t quite fit. There was definitely regret."

The verdict: I enjoyed One for the Money while I was reading it, but I doubt I'll be compelled to pick up the next one in the series. It's a fine novel, but ultimately it seemed forgettable.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Length: 288 pages
Publication date: August 26, 1994
Source: I bought it for my Kindle

Buy One for the Money from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle version.)

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12 comments:

  1. I read the first few in this series back in the 90's and thought they were fun. Eventually, I grew tired. I can imagine what a blast from the past this one would be right now.

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    1. I would be curious to see how the more recent ones fare!

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  2. I read the first two an never picked any more up. I agree more quirky than funny. But I could also see it getting old... They're on like 18 or 19 now?

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    1. I think so! I didn't enjoy it enough to seek them out, but they sure are popular. It would be interesting to see how they've fared.

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  3. My mom loves these books and has read all of them. I am not sure if I would read this, but it was interesting to hear what you had to say about it, and your reactions intrigued me!

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    1. There's much to enjoy in them, but I just don't think they're for me!

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  4. I've been curious about this series for a couple years, but have never tried them out. They seem like they would be just what you described, fun but forgettable books.

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    1. Exactly. There's a time and place for forgettable and enjoyable, but I'm so into other things right now.

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  5. I keep going back and forth on whether or not I want to read this. I've heard that Evanovich's earlier books are the better than her later ones, but that doesn't seem to stop people from checking them out from the library like crazy! I may end up reading one of them just so I finally know what all the fuss is about.

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    1. Emily, I'm certainly glad to have read one to see what the fuss is about, but I doubt I'll read many more.

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  6. I've read the first three books in this series and enjoyed all of them although this one remains my favorite! I'm looking forward to seeing the movie even if it is getting mixed reviews :) Glad to hear that you enjoyed this one even if you won't be continuing on with the series :)

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    1. I want to see the movie too. I kept picturing the cast as I read the book. I'll wait for dvd, but I am curious!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. Happy reading!