A heat wave in Manhattan is enough to drive a girl crazy, and for Tracey Spadolini, a 24-year-old New York transplant who's been "left behind" for the summer, there's even more to sweat about. Her Slightly Significant Other, Will, will be returning from summer stock in September, to pick up where they left off. (Or will he?)
But, in the days after Will's departure, Tracey decides it's time for a reality check. Her un-air-conditioned East Village apartment is a dump, her entry-level ad job sucks, her thighs don't seem to be getting any thinner, and Will seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. So, Tracey, with the help of her friends and one very attentive guy, decides to spend her summer reinventing herself and taking a chance on liking the new woman she becomes.
In this shopworn, Bridget Jonesy tale, Tracey Spadolini is desperate for love. Not surprisingly, given the genre, Tracey smokes, drinks and eats too much, and frets about her romantic life. Even more predictably, the 24-year-old plumpish protagonist from a sprawling Italian family in upstate New York has settled for an unfulfilling entry-level ad agency job with a smarmy boss, and lives in a "drab East Village flat." The good news is that Tracey's friends pretty Kate, a bleached blonde with "fake aquamarine pupils," and gay stereotype Raphael, a Ricky Martin look-alike love her. The bad news: life isn't peachy in the true love department. Will, Tracey's handsome, waspish boyfriend, is an actor with little talent and no time for Tracey. Their relationship "has been about as stable as an Isuzu Trooper at eighty mph on a hairpin curve," but a decent alternative turns up in attentive Buckley, a freelance copywriter. When Will leaves town to act in summer stock, a dejected Tracey starts slimming down, boning up on literary classics like Moby Dick and generally re-evaluating her life. Markham a pseudonym for Wendy Corsi Staub, award-winning romance author and ghostwriter for the likes of Fabio has done little here to break out of pulp romance and into literature. The narcissistic upsets of a shallow crew of 20-something singles and the hackneyed ending now are sadly out of date and hold little appeal.