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Lovesick    by Alex Wellen order for
by Alex Wellen
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Three Rivers, 2009 (2009)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Alex Wellen's Lovesick is an amusing romp involving modern courtship games and rituals, wild and wacky inventions, the financing of prescription medicine, and the antics of geriatric criminals. In fact, some of the older folks in this novel are its most engaging and colorful characters.

Andy Altman has loved Paige Day since Halloween, 1983 when a young Princess Leia (Paige) showered young Chewbacca (Andy) with candies. Now Andy dates Paige and works - as a pharmacy technician - for her demanding father Gregory, who owns Day's Pharmacy in Crockett, California. Andy's close friend and fellow inventor, eighty-three year old Sid, is also Gregory's friend and contemporary, and Paige's godfather. Gregory and Andy argue constantly.

Problem is that Andy is ready to propose to Paige, but Sid insists that his friend give his goddaughter 'a legitimate engagement story' and also ask Gregory first. And Andy is certain of rejection. So he delays, and he's interrupted. When he finally gets up the nerve to pop the question to Gregory (on the phone just before proposing to Paige during a romantic wine country getaway) he's asked to wait. Andy doesn't wait - and is left wondering about Gregory's reasons when his future father-in-law dies before they can talk about it.

Andy is left with a grieving fiancée, a hostile future sister-in-law, and a disaster in the making on his hands. Turns out that Gregory was deeply in debt. He worked a barter system with some of his customers so that he could give out free pill samples to others. Even those with money rarely paid him and Blue Cross is investigating, with 'possible civil and criminal penalties.' On top of all this, wedding plans are on hold and Paige's high school boyfriend is sniffing around.

Of course it all gets sorted eventually but the fun's in Andy's journey, which is at times hilarious and leads to the exposure of all sorts of misunderstandings and secrets ... including Gregory's true opinion of him.

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