Flip-Flop! Flip-Flop! I completed my review of Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich, but when I re-read it, I realized I sounded like a certain political candidate from a few years back who's opponents waved rubber sandals to accuse him of "flip-flopping" on the issues.
I have been with Stephanie from book one, and have eagerly awaited the release of a new adventure each June. I even drove 110 miles through torrential rain and hail to purchase one volume on release day. However, *FLIP* you may remember (from this post) that I nearly called it quits after Sixteen. The stories were beginning to feel re-cycled, and there was no progress in Stephanie's life.
Character advancement is a delicate balance. Too little and the stories seem repetitive. Too much and the focus of the story changes. Many a television series has fallen victim to the "too much" side of this coin (Murder, She Wrote and House, to name a couple. Ask me about my opinions, I'll be glad to share.)
After reading Smokin' Seventeen, I still feel the series errs towards the "too little" side, but there's a "but". *FLOP* Dave is relatively new to the series. I think he's read three or four (and all out of order, which is bold new territory for him). He reminded me that, advancement or no, the stories are funny! Just read them for enjoyment and don't try to make it deeper than that. We're not analyzing Shakespeare, we're just having a good time. And he's got a point. The familiar crowd - Grandma Mazur, Lula, Connie, Mooner, et. al. - were as comical as ever. The plot was full of nutty villains and exploding cars. There's even more sex!
Did Stephanie make any crucial life or relationship choices? No, *FLIP* but *FLOP* she took steps in the right direction by realizing she has let the Morelli/Ranger situation fester too long. Admitting you have a problem and all that. . . By the last page, she APPEARS to have made a choice. *FLIP* I say appears because we've fallen for that cliff-hanger before. *FLOP* At least this time we don't have to wait as long to find out. Explosive Eighteen is coming in November and you know I'll be waiting in line.
Dave gifted me a lovely autographed copy of Smokin' Seventeen for my birthday.