I can deal with clichés, corny jokes and predictable plots. What pisses me off most about the chick-lit genre is its utter lack of self-awareness. It’s way too obvious how “storylines” are thinly veiled antidotes to middle-aged women’s (unfulfilled) desires. I’ve always thought that if these books made fun of themselves a bit, they’d be a little less pathetic.
Which is why I was actually kind of excited about reading A Werewolf in Manhattan, a book about a New York novelist named Emma who writes werewolf romances and ends up falling for a real-life shapeshifter.It’s “A fantasy come to life – literally,” as the back cover helpfully hammers in. A writer writing about a writer – that’s some meta-level shit! Maybe this book would be a multi-layered satirical take on the romance novel. I couldn’t wait to be inSEXtioned.
In the beginning, A Werewolf in Manhattan regurgitates all of the genre’s conventions. Emma is a smart and sexy blonde with a super-successful career but placid love life. She meets rich, handsome and mysteriously hairy Aidan, who poses as security but is actually a prince of the werewolf community, sent to investigate if Emma’s brilliant writing is a product of some insider knowledge. But then, the book throws a curveball. Aidan suffers from a rare genetic disorder: he only turns into a werewolf when – I shit you not – he gets a boner that can’t be relieved through intercourse.
Emma is supposed to represent a thoroughly modern woman, which here translates as being a huge slut. She throws herself onto his bushy bod but, problematically, Aidan can’t fuck because “wolves mate for life” and he’s promised to a powerful were-princess from the kingdom of Chicago. Surprisingly, it’s the guy rather than the girl in this book who is bound by a family-imposed chastity ring.
But he can’t help his powerfully erotic attraction to her overwhelmingly sensuous body odour, and finally, when Emma “accidentally” flashes him “a perfect view of her creamy breasts,” he succumbs. “Her nipples, soft and full from the warmth of her bath, were the colour of a rosé. He had to have a taste.”
Unfortunately, subtle genre bending isn’t enough to save this book from its stale love scenes. Even while she’s gagging on his manhood and he’s taking her from behind (cause he’s an animal), the sex fails to sizzle. I’m not sure what Thompson was thinking when she penned this scene: “The juicy aroma of sex filled the air and the slap slap slap of bodies melded with the creak of the bed and the thump of the headboard against the wall.” All I can think of is Aidan’s furry balls slapping against Emma’s pungent pussy.
As usual, everything is conveniently resolved by the last chapter. Emma marries Aidan and lives in his spectacular cabin in the woods, bearing his were-babies and continuing her stellar career via her BlackBerry. Awesome.
Rating: 2/5 – A plot revolving around a werewolf’s blue balls should have been awesome. Instead, this book’s failure to arouse either my interest or libido makes it a major letdown – not ONCE did I have to dash into the café’s bathroom to relieve any urges. What a snooze.