Monday, September 10, 2007

Lisa's Review: In Sheep's Clothing

When Trudy lands a secretarial position at a travel agency, she feels like a new woman. And her warm, friendly personality soon wins her the adoration of her colleagues—with one exception. Ann Oliver is a high-level manager and the only other African American employee. She’s also an extravagant snob who despises the low-income black experience Trudy represents—especially when their white co-workers get the two of them confused. But Trudy keeps her cool. No one is going to ruin her new life. In fact, she’s found a way to make it even better. As the secretary who processes the agency’s bills, Trudy has easy access to company credit cards—including Ann’s.

At first, Trudy’s deception involves a few high-priced lunches—but it soon expands to include cash advances, a dramatic makeover, and weekend “business trips” to exotic locations. And when Ann suddenly resigns, Trudy’s spree goes to the next level. Now she’s leading a glamorous double-life—Ann’s life—complete with a secret apartment where she entertains the men she meets at upscale bars. But their worlds collide the night Trudy brings home the wrong man—one who has an angry score to settle. With Ann. Now, unless Trudy can convince him she’s not the woman he’s after, she may pay the highest price of all…

Identity theft is a difficult subject for obvious reasons. Can you make your protagonist symphathetic enough for us to feel that their actions are justified? Can you make us dislike the antagonist enough, to feel that they are deserving of such treatment? I was interested to see how a story like this would work and where national best-selling author Mary Monroe, would take us in this her sixth novel.

If I had to use one word to describe this effort it would be "What?". It seemed to me that great effort was made to keep the main characters somewhat grey and likeable, instead they were underdeveloped and as a result, completely unsympathetic. I am still trying to figure out what compelling reasons the Trudy had for choosing to steal as she did. The death of her mom sixteen years earlier? Having a boss who acted like a boss and not a sistah girl friend? The antagonist (Ann), who was supposed to be an evil woman, was more a mystery than anything else and in my mind, was someone to be ignored, rather than seek revenge on. Freddie (Trudy's best friend and supposed voice of reason) was simply wishy-washy. The lesser parts the characters had to play, the more stereotypical they became.

Ms. Monroe's writing is plain and painfully convuluted and the story often took off in tangents that neither moved the story along nor provided any insight. The climax was pat and rushed and ultimately there were no lasting reprecussions and no redemption for Trudy.

There is so much lost potential here. The opportunity to go deeper and create a compelling tale was lost. I am truly disappointed and frustrated. This is undoubtedly my first and last Mary Monroe novel.

Final take: 2/5


Julie September 10, 2007 at 3:40 PM  

Well hopefully you didn't buy anymore of hers or you'll be returning them.

I hate it when a summary of a book seems good and then it turns out horribly wrong.

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