Saturday, March 1, 2014

Jackpot! by Jackie Pilossoph

    2011; 323 pages.  New Author? : Yes.  Genre : Chick-Lit; Romance; Humor.  Overall Rating : 6½*/10.

    Jamie and Danny Jacobson are brother-&-sister, 30-somethings, and both career-oriented.  Jamie wants to be a screenwriter, although for now she plucks ping pong  balls for the Illinois lottery.  Danny aspires to be a Hollywood actor, but for now he has to be content with cheap, local commercials and dressing up like a donut to promote a local vendor.

    Their mom, Francine “Frankie” Jacobson, wants grandkids in the worst way, but neither Jackie nor Danny is in any hurry to make her wish come true.

    But money changes everything.

What’s To Like...
    Jackpot! is a light, quick pleasant read.  It is told from two first-person POV’s – Danny’s and Jamie’s.  The chapters switch back and forth between the two, but Jackie Pilossoph puts the Danny chapters in italics, which is quite helpful.  We follow the romantic undertakings of both protagonists, so the reader is getting two Romances for the price of one.

    Humor also abounds, a lot of which is of the Jewish persuasion since the Jacobsons are Jewish.  For the most part, it is low-key, as opposed to madcap antics.  It works nicely.

    The dual plotlines in Jackpot! are typical for this genre – boy and girl meet, love blossoms, a crisis arises, boy and girl split up, then somehow work through it.  Amor omnia vincit, and all that.  If you savor that formula, you’ll eat up Jackpot!

    But it also means the storyline is very predictable.  You can figure out who’s gonna end up with whom at about 20%, and for me, the book plodded thereafter.  Jackie and Danny may not realize they’re falling in love, but the reader does, and wishes they would hurry up and get a clue.

    There are some plot twists to liven things up, although they tend to be so convenient, they border on being WTF’s.  The ending wraps everything up neatly; you will find it either satisfyingly sweet or cloyingly sweet, depending on your reading tastes.

    “You know what I love about Bonnie?” he gloated.  “She goes along with anything I say.”  Then he kissed her on the lips.  “I love you pookie poo-poo.”
    “Not as much as I love you, pookie pee-pee,” Bonnie answered in a baby voice.
    Nausea came over me.  Pookie what? (. . .)  What language were they speaking”  I wondered.  Pookinese?  (loc. 1197)

    In the dream, there was a knock at my door.  I got up out of bed and answered the door.  He was standing there.
    “Hi,” he said.
    “Dad what are you doing here?”
    “Can I come in?”
    “Uh, sure.  Want to sit down?”
    “Okay.”  My dad sat on the couch and I sat on the loveseat.  “Can I get you anything?  A beer?”
    “I can’t drink anything, Danny.  I’m dead.”  (loc. 2623)

Kindle Details...
    Jackpot! sells for $2.99 at Amazon.  Jackie Pilossoph has three other books available for the Kindle, all of them in the chick-lit genre, and ranging from $2.99 to $6.99.

”Frankie Jacobson has a better chance of winning the lottery than she does of ever becoming a grandmother.”  (loc. 203)
    There are a couple quibbles.  A lot of the wit is couched in Jackie repeatedly stating “I wanted to say (insert wisecrack here) but instead said (something more tactful)”.  For me, that device got old after a while.    Also, there are a couple places where Jackie feels compelled to tell you she isn’t a lesbian.  Come on now, Ms. Pilossoph.  It’s the 21st century.  Are such ‘asides’ really necessary anymore?

    As a male reader, I find it hard to rate a Chick-Lit/Romance book.  Maybe the aforementioned “formula” for writing this kind of book appeals to the genre’s readers, no matter how often it’s used.  Perhaps the end (“they lived happily ever after”) justifies the means (how many WTF’s did it take before Love won out?).  I’ll check with the expert on this – my wife.

    6½ Stars.  Add 1½ stars if you’re female and like chick-lit, thank you very much.  Subtract 1 star if you’d describe yourself as “career-oriented”.

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