From the book cover:
You can learn a lot about a man from his apartment. But how do you get inside in the first place? In a moment of brilliance, Jacquie Stuart, New York-based film journalist and commitment-phobe magnet, takes a break from celebrity interviews to pitch a wild idea to an editor of a women’s magazine: What would happen if she answered “Roommate Wanted” ads as a ploy to meet men? She would have intimate access to countless single guys. And as a potential roommate, she could unearth all the insights that usually stay buried on a first date: what books he reads, whether he cleans the bathroom sink, what pictures adorn his nightstand. Why, it’s untapped man-market genius! And so it is that Jacquie embarks on a hunt designed to find way more than a place to hang her fabulous wardrobe…
I don’t remember where I first heard about this book, but I thought the premise was incredibly cute – a girl who decides to try to meet guys through “Roommate Wanted” ads and writes an article about it. In these days of chick lit, it’s not the most unique plot line, but I thought it would be endearing. I’m still not quite certain if I was right or not.
My main issue with the book was the fundamentally flawed main character, Jacqui. It’s not that she isn’t likeable, it’s more that she isn’t very much fun to read about. She obviously has major self-esteem issues and doesn’t find a problem with sleeping with any guy on the first date. In fact, it seems to be her credo, as she is afraid that she won’t be able to keep them if she doesn’t put out. It’s hard to believe a woman living in New York and working at a magazine in her 30’s wouldn’t have learned the lesson that sex does NOT buy you love (It’s even harder to believe this after the relationship fiascos she has endured). I have some sympathy for her not having been taught this valuable lesson, but at the same time, these problems are not front and center. Usually when a character has issues such as these, they are dealt with in a strong manner in the book. Not so with Jacqui – they slip in and out of the sides of the story. While she does demonstrate some development through the book and grows as a character, that doesn’t change the fact that I wasn’t her biggest fan – she was just a bit too shallow for my tastes.
That being said, the book is similar to most other chick-lit novels. It is light and fun, with quirky secondary characters. While at the beginning, they are flat, two-dimensional characters, Meyer manages to make them more than they appear. She develops these personages well. Another treat in the novel is the view of New York City it provides; specifically, how difficult it is to find a good apartment, and how that apartment (and where it’s located) define you. Those of you who watched the show probably remember Miranda’s fear of moving to Brooklyn in Sex and the City. Meyer expands on that theme, making the real estate market of New York accessible to those of us who don’t live in the Big Apple.
In sum, while Room for Love is quirky and cute, it has its fundamental flaws. However, I do look forward to reading any future offerings by this author, as she does show promise!