The Name Curse by Brooke Burroughs
I can’t quite remember what drew me to this book, which is essentially a romantic comedy – not a genre I have ever consciously tried. Bernie, her name short for Bernice, is in a steady go-nowhere job in a steady go-nowhere town, when she is bullied to go on a hike in Alaska. This, she does, only to be teamed up with an intensely annoying scriptwriter, Matthew.
Bernie does not get on with Alaska, and gets on with Matthew even less. As the hike progresses, it becomes apparent how unfit and unprepared Bernie is for it. At the same time, Matthew is suffering from a form of writer’s block. He hopes to use the hike as material for his next script, and Bernie’s haplessness makes for useful material.
From there, the story picks up and there is a mixture of funny, tender and fraught moments.
What I liked about the book was some of the writing. Here’s one:
It was like [Bernie’s] kitchen and her life had been taken over by a fairy godmother on a juice cleanse who shoved glasses of forest-green liquid in her face every morning, when Bernie just wanted a coffee with her mocha-flavored creamer and didn’t care about its unpronounceable ingredients.
And this was tender:
He took his time, but his lingering made every movement feel bottomless. Like they could spend the next two days in this room and still not have explored every inch of their bodies. Every touch and breath and movement of his body felt like there was so much more to discover.
What I didn’t like was the predictability of the story. But that’s probably an advantage to most readers of the genre.