REVIEW: Looking for Lacey by Linda Francis Lee
Dear Ms. Lee
Football season is right around the corner and I thought this book would be a perfect fit given that the hero is a football player. Unfortunately, the football aspects were merely window dressing for this average story.
Bobby Mac is an injured star quarterback for the Texas Lone Stars hoping to make it back before the playoffs. Lacey is a prissy, prim woman who has been hired by his sister to manage Bobby’s Place, a bar in Bobby Mac’s home town of El Paso. Bobby Mac’s enlightened response to that news: “You know I don’t want some woman in here running my business.”
Bobby Mac is a backward neanderthal. He calls Lacey, his employee, “sweet thang”, “miss priss”, asks her about her sex life. She says that’s sexual
harassment. He says no, it’s not because he isn’t asking her for sex which is incorrect. (heard of hostile work environment?)
Lacey is an unwed mother and acts as if there is some social stain on that position. In this day and age, does anyone even care? In her attempts to provide her daughter a good home, she moves quite a few times to avoid negative innuendos and situations. I appreciated her motivations even if the actions didn’t really result in the desired outcome.
Then there is the second “romance” between Robin, Lacey’s 15 year old daughter, and Kyle, the 17 year old bad boy. I am not terribly familiar
with teenagers, but Kyle and Robin speak like romance book adults. Witness the following exchange:
“I’ll have you know that I am not a little girl,” she shot back. “I am old enough and smart enough to get your sorry . . . behind out of trouble.”
An amused grin quirked on his lips. “My sorry behind?” Kyle braced his hand against a locker, leaning so close that her collar started feeling tight again. “Don’t tell me you’re really such an innocent. It’s butt,” he said, his voice a rugged growl. “Have you ever said butt before, little girl?”
Is this normal teenaged dialogue??? I suppose that every teenage lothario has the “quirked” lips and the “rugged growl”.
Other dialogue is a bit strange. Bobby Mac refers to Lacey’s would be suitor as a “rake.” I hadn’t realized the word “rake” was an adjective in the modern man’s vocabulary.
The last irksome thing is the football aspect. Bobby Mac has had three concussions. The doctors have warned him about the danger of returning to football. Bobby Mac is supposedly a three time Super Bowl champ. His sister doesn’t even bring up the concussion when she is encouraging him to return to the playing field. Bobby Mac’s coach is ready to put him back into the line up as soon as he is cleared by the doctor. I found this to not be realistic at all. Both Steve Young and Troy Aikmen were virtually forced out of the game by their teams because their teams wouldn’t play them for fear of the life injuring consequences of another concussion. His sister or coach not even speaking to that issue is preposterous. Finally, Bobby Mac is in El Paso. His team is in Dallas. I can’t remember the last time that a player who is getting ready to rejoin his team is spending all of his time in his home town, particularly one anxious to show his coach how ready he is for a return on the field. In essence, nothing about the football sounded authentic to me.
Beyond the inept football backstory were the short shrifts given to the emotional entanglements that both Lacey and Bobby Mac experienced. The emotional arc was based on abandonment for each character, Lacey by her religious family and Bobby Mac by his birth mother. Yet, the powerful emotional issues were never really touched on and the resolution of the emotional arc was no satisfactory. C-
Looking for Lacey was published in 2003. It’s ISBN is 0804119961.