My listen of Things Good Girls Don’t Do was interrupted for over a week when I went down the Serial (Season 1) podcast and then to the Undisclosed podcast. In part, it was because I was distracted by the shiny but it has to be said, if I had been listening to a book that was riveting, I could not be torn away from it by anything else. So, even though in some respects it wasn’t the book’s fault I had an interrupted listen, in another very important way, it was. Things Good Girls Don’t Do was okay; fine even. But it didn’t hold my attention terribly well.
Katie Connors lives in the small town of Rock Canyon, Idaho. She was raised to be a “good girl” and her (now deceased) mother was constantly telling her what good girls did or how a lady behaves. Those lessons became so ingrained that it has been difficult for Katie to break out of them. In fact, for many years, she had no desire to. She just bit her lip and kept her mouth shut when townsfolk were rude or overbearing and she is nice to everyone.
Unfortunately, her good girl-ness doesn’t bring her happiness. Her boyfriend of 7 years cheated on her and then dumped her for the other woman and now, Katie’s received an invitation to their wedding in the mail! Katie spends some time at a bar in town making a list of all the things she would do if she weren’t a “good girl”; all the things she’s wanted to do but never could.
Chase Trepasso is the owner/operator of the town’s (new) tattoo parlour. He also writes and draws his own graphic novel series, Destructo Boy. He rides a Harley and has tattoos and ear-studs. He looks like a “bad boy”. While Katie is very attractive, a good girl like her has no business with a bad boy like him. Until he sees her list.
One of the items is a tattoo and pretty soon Chase is helping Katie out with more than just ink. Katie decides a fling is just what she needs and Chase is delighted to help. He’s kind of allergic to commitment but he finds himself falling hard and fast for Katie anyway. Any kind of label on their relationship gives him hives but he knows deep down he wants it all with her.
Chase is very sensitive to the “not being good enough for Katie” meanness which is rife in Rock Canyon. Katie, having turned over a new leaf, learns to speak up for herself and tell people who are being awful that enough is enough. Even though Katie never thinks of Chase as not good enough for her, not ever, it takes a while for Chase to think he’s good enough for her.
There is absolutely nothing about that description which should not have delighted me but even so, I found myself a little bored and impatient. The pace of the narrative was a bit slow and it just seemed to meander in places when I wanted things to get a move on already. I did think the back half of the story was stronger than the front half.
Nina Alvamar was on track for a B+ grade – she reminded me in some ways of Sophie Eastlake. Ms. Alvamar’s male voices were well depicted and I liked her characterisation of the cast overall. There were two things which dropped the grade slightly. One: I dislike it when the text refers to a character laughing and the narrator reads the words and then adds in a laugh track. It only happened once in this book but the laugh was the worst fake laugh I’ve heard in ages and it made me cringe.
The other thing was that Ms. Alvamar wasn’t skilled at differentiating what was dialogue and what was internal monologue. In print, the ‘thought’ portion of the line would be rendered in italics. Very good narrators (Sophie Eastlake being but one of them) are able to portray these words in an “under her breath” tone which indicates to the listener the words have not been spoken aloud by the character. Here, I had to check myself over and over again because I wasn’t certain what was just inside the character’s head and what was actually dialogue.
Both of those things are matters which, with more experience, Ms. Alvamar can improve and I have no doubt she will. The bones of a great narrator are there for sure.
For listeners in the mood for a somewhat slow-moving small town contemporary romance, Things Good Girls Don’t Do is a somewhat meandering but otherwise fun and sexy listen with solid narration.
Book Content: C+
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence Rating: Fighting
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harper Audio
Things Good Girls Don't Do was provided to AudioGals by Harper Audio for a review.