The Blonde Theory by Kristin Harmel

The Blonde Theory by Kristin Harmel

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 291 pages, 2007

Rating: 8/10

Reason for Reading: Chick-lit always comes through when I’m in a reading slump.

Synopsis: Harper Roberts is smart, attractive, successful – and so, so single. Convinced that her success (she’s the youngest attorney at her firm to be made lawyer, and she’s got an amazing salary to show for it) is what scares men away, she lets her friends talk her into a social experiment: are men just after the dumb blondes? She’ll try to play the part to see if happiness – and true love – are just a hair flip and a giggle away.

Why you should read this book: There are very few women out there who haven’t thought, ‘What if I were a little more…smart/pretty/funny/free-spirited/happy/thin/open/etc.’ and The Blonde Theory plays into this thought with something a little more in-depth than the usual ‘He would like me if I were skinnier’ theme from chick-lit novels. This time it’s about smarts, a fundamental part of Harper’s personality, so you can really feel her fears, insecurities, and hopes on something deeper than appearances. Harper is a good mix of contrasts, here, willing to be a good-sport and play along, but still maintaining a cynical edge – would she actually want a man that fell for the bimbo act, anyway? There’s enough going on with Harper and the plot to keep the pace at a nice clip throughout the entire book, alternately letting you feeling Harper’s pain and making you laugh at this wacky social experiment. Harmel’s writing is terrifically smooth, allowing humour to shine through while still keeping fully in touch with reality. Fans of chick-lit will love this one.

Why you should avoid this book: There’s nothing really wrong with The Blonde Theory, but there isn’t really anything that jumps out as you as being amazing – it’s about par for what you’d expect from well-written chick-lit.

Opening paragraph:

I didn’t know when it happened that it would be my last chance at finding love. I mean, who thinks like that? Sure, we agonize over breakups, cry with our girlfriends, drown our sorrows in too many pints of mint chocolate chip or too many martinis. But in the back of our minds, even as our hearts are breaking, we know there will be someone else. Maybe not right away, but eventually. There’s always someone else just around the corner.

Fabulous quotes:

‘But isn’t that sexual harassment or some sort of discrimination or something?’ Matt asked, looking confused. ‘Wouldn’t a bunch of lawyers know better?’
‘None of it is overt enough to sue over,’ I said with a shrug. ‘Not that I’d sue anyhow. But it’s not like anyone ever says, Harper, you’re being excluded because you’re single. Or You’re being passed over for promotion because you haven’t tied the knot. It’s just the way it is.’

For a moment, as we walked through the restaurant in silence with his hand still lightly on my back, I wondered what was wrong with me. I think some part of me had believed that I could win over a man like Colin with my charm and then reveal to him that I actually had more brains than he had initially believed. But that was crazy, wasn’t it? Because the guys who were attracted to dumb blondes – like cute, funny, successful Colin – would never be attracted to a woman like the real me.
I knew I shouldn’t have been depressed. After all, he had shown himself to be shallow. He had even spent a large portion of the meal staring at my breasts. He wasn’t exactly a golden catch. But still…there was a part of me that wasn’t quite getting all the reasons he was undesirable.
I shouldn’t have felt sad and rejected. But I did.

Also recommended: The Continuity Girl by Leah McLaren; Ex and the Single Girl by Lani Diane Rich; Beyond the Blonde by Kathleen Flynn-Hui.

Also by this author: How to Sleep With a Movie Star.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: Some of Harmel’s favourite authors include Sarah Mlynowski, Lynda Curnyn, Alison Pace, and Melissa Senate.

Would I read more by this author? Sure.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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