REVIEW: Act Like It by Lucy Parker
Dear Lucy Parker:
It seems like everyone and their mother has been talking about this book. And I am nothing if not a shameless follower of trends. The book ingratiates itself by being an enemies-to-lovers banter-fest. Our intrepid heroine, Lainie, is an actor on the West End. She’s currently appearing in a play with intolerable luvvie, Richard Troy (awks) and her ex, Will (double awks). Richard is the enfant bloody horrific of the London theater scene, and in an attempt to salvage the play’s reputation, Lainie’s superiors insist both she and Richard put on their own play within a play. Yes, they want them to *gasp* pretend to be a couple! They feel Lainie’s kindness and charitable nature would rub off on Richard’s, well, lack thereof and therefore endear people to the production.
While ‘kindness and charitable nature’ sound like nice but boring traits in a heroine (what a perfectly sociopathic thing to say!), Lainie is smart, sharp, and devoid enough of bull to make them work. Richard, while arrogant, is refreshingly candid and protective, and both fall into a sparky, banter-filled friendship. Incidentally, as I was reading their charming dialogue, the ghosts of Michael Faraday and Robert Boyle appeared within the pages to tell me they had given up the chemistry lark as Parker had shown them up as amateurs. Complications arise when Will, Laine’s toad of an ex, gets jelly. Richard’s past also comes back to haunt him as his skeletons decide it’s a wonderful day for a gambol away from the closet.
This was a book that made me feel safe. It made me feel safe in the author’s hands, safe in the characters’ hands, safe in the story’s hands. It was a book written with confidence and verve. As I said, the chemistry was extraordinary, but the main characters’ friendship was treated with the same careful dedication. Their interactions were funny and warm and smart, and neither character was forced to forsake any of their sharpness to make way for the romance.
The story was let down somewhat by an unnecessarily dramatic climax, which felt out of place and forced, but what came before it was strong enough to leave me with a stupid smile on my even stupider face.