One to Watch

I’m quite the Bachelor fan, so I was intrigued by this body positive spin on the franchise, but wow was this book too long. 430 pages is WAY too long for a rom-com, and that’s the tea. Overall, I think this was a fine read. I’d give it 3.5 stars, and that’s as a big fan of the Bachelor world and rom-coms in general. The beginning drags heavily, I liked the ending, and I appreciated the attempts to use multimedia storytelling techniques (texts, blogs, etc) but it did feel a bit like “cheating” at times

Bea Schumacher is a plus-size fashion influencer/blogger who’s been in love with her best friend, Ray, for years.  After their friendship implodes, Bea sinks into a deep, deep funk. But then, she gets the opportunity of a life-time: to be the “Main Squeeze” on the hit TV show (a not thinly veiled Bachelor/ette) and be the first plus-size romantic lead in the show’s history. It’s a big deal because Bea had been very critical of the show’s thin cast in the past, but after some prodding, she accepts the deal–with no intention of actually falling in love. She’s guarding herself from beinghurt, and for good reason too, because as you can imagine, some of the guys are less “open-minded” and “body positive” than you’d like. But along the way, Bea meets some fascinating men that might just steal her heart, and she learns a lot about herself along the way. Follow Bea from sad girl on the couch to hometown dates and reunion shows as she navigates being in the spotlight as a plus-size woman.

Alright, let’s dish. I like the Bachelor, and I think some of the ways this show played outside the conventions were interesting–filming in real time to prevent spoilers, etc.  It got a little old after awhile though, ya know? And the “kiss of ceremonies” were super lame. Anyway, the guys were interesting, and I liked Bea sometimes, but she did seem to be the Queen of Self-Sabotage, and frankly, I know it was “real” but the constant attacks on Bea were demoralizing to read. I know that’s part of the story–understanding how common this is for plus-sized women, but when it’s in almost every chapter, you, like Bea, start to get beaten down by it.  I did love some of the male characters, even if I thought some of the “twists” were either too forced or too boring (or both) and Bea’s family was interesting. Overall, this was a FINE book, but it was way too long. The prologue…didn’t matte at all. So why was it there? And why was this book over 400 pages? We could have saved ourselves a lot of time squeezing it into 320 pages like every other rom-com author. As a writer, I appreciated the use of texts, tweet recaps, and articles to augment the story, but when it came to what the audience was seeing on the show, I felt like it took the easy way out–and I think one of the most interesting parts about the Bachelor franchise is how it is edited/received by the audience. Sure, it’s cool to see it from Bea in some parts, but it felt like I wasn’t invested as an audience member the entire time like I should have been.

Overall, this was a fine debut. I’m sure she’ll write again, and I think it’ll be interesting to see if any in Bachelor Nation talks about this book, but I’m not going to go raving about it to everyone I meet.

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