Monday, January 21, 2008

The Queen of Babble, by Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot is an unusually prolific writer, famous for her teen books "The Princess Diaries," now in its 9th volume, I think. She also wrote two other teen series: The Mediator and 1-800-WhereAreYou. She has a number of adult novels as well, which are differentiated from her teen books mostly by being slightly more sexually graphic.

The Cabot formula is front and center in The Queen of Babble: a young woman (Lizzie) with the ability to run off at the mouth is uncertain about her career future, and is in love with an unsuitable man. When betrayed by him (in this case, because he is working as a waiter AND still "on the dole" in London), she flees to France, where her friend is spending the summer working at a chateau that hosts weddings. On the train, she meets a good looking young man to whom she spills--at length--her woes over her now ex-boyfriend, only to find this stranger is actually a member of the family that owns the chateau.

We have the usual obstacles to overcome: he has a girlfriend, who is obviously completely wrong for him; she insists she is too fresh from her break-up to get into a relationship; the first wedding of the season involves a terrible wedding dress that only Our Lizzie can fix. Evil Inappropriate Girlfriend gets dumped, Lizzie alters a vintage couture gown found in the attic to save the wedding, boy and girl have sex on a wine cask and all ends well.

It's exactly the kind of novel Meg Cabot writes, but it's charming and has some redeeming quirky moments. One of my favorites is when Lizzie sees her crush wearing wingtips, and nearly passes out because to Lizzie, wingtips are "so hot." Another is when Lizzie realizes her English boyfriend was lying and using her, and she wants to "take back" the blow-job she gave him. She spills this particular tidbit to the stranger on the train, and he understandably finds her funny. She gets a phone call from Bad Boyfriend, and her new friend calls himself her "attorney, seeking return of the blow-job. If he is unable to return it to her, she will be forced to sue." It's the modern "meet cute," with a side of raunchy.

A light time waster, frivolous and frothy, no surprises, but no disappointment either.

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