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Because She Can    by Bridie Clark order for
Because She Can
by Bridie Clark
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

Bridie Clark knows how to write. Yes, Because She Can has the stereotypical setting of a chick lit book - New York publishing, featuring a single twenty-something employee who works for the boss from hell. But the novel is funny in places, sad in others, and readers will empathize with main character, Claire Truman, who in the prologue is about to get married. On her wedding day, she isn't sure she should take that big step to the altar. She is stalling her walk down that aisle, her crazy boss Vivian is yelling at her because a wedding of all things is interrupting their work, and Claire is thinking about a man she kissed 6 weeks before ...

One year earlier, the story begins. Claire has a wonderful job, working under well-known editor Jackson Mayville. Unfortunately, Jackson is retiring. Bea, Claire's best friend from childhood, invites her to a happy hour, knowing her friend is currently free and available. 'Pabst blue ribbon' Randall Cox - a guy the friends had big crushes on in college - shows up, and before Claire knows it, they are dating. Their relationship moves slowly, in that she doesn't really know half the time whether they are on or off, but then she finds herself engaged to him.

When Randall learned that Claire was in the market for a new job, he suggested she interview with Vivian Grant. Though Grant has the reputation of a boss from hell, Claire felt it must be exaggerated. When she gets hired, and friends start sending sympathy notices, Claire is determined to last as along as she can. How could she turn down a job with triple the salary and a promotion to boot? Claire starts out as the new star of Grant Books (yes, Vivian has her own imprint), but she has a rival, a woman who finds ways to sabotage her.

While Claire is trying to figure out Randall's next move in their relationship - and trying to second-guess Vivian's next move as well - she bumps into Luke Mayville, Jackson Mayville's nephew. When Luke informs her that he has finished his first novel, she offers to take a look. And she loves it. She proposes publishing it at Grant Books, and soon the two become fast friends. So, Claire has her dream man, and a great job with a horrible boss. But now there is Luke, a man to whom she is attracted. But even more important, they connect. But she loves Randall, doesn't she?

This was a surprise hit for me. I liked the lead, found the characters (although to some extent stereotypical) realistic and the story lines engaging. Randall was Claire's Prince Charming, but sometimes Prince Charming isn't for everyone, and it takes Claire quite a while to figure this out. Claire's one fault was that she was so enamored with the idea of Randall Cox, that she couldn't really see who he really was, and that it took a friend like Luke to make her see the light. I recommend Because She Can to fans of chick lit.

Audiobook review by Rheta Van Winkle:

Listening to a book being read takes you to a far different place than reading the book yourself does. The person who reads the book becomes almost as important at the author. Mary Birdsong interprets as she reads and does a wonderful job of depicting the evil Vivian, remote Randall, and confused Claire. Unfortunately, Because She Can is so predictable that even Birdsong's reading and the fact that the audio version is abridged couldn't save it for me.

Claire Truman is a good editor who falls victim to a terrible boss and stays at that job out of sheer stubbornness and the desire to see an excellent author published. The abuse heaped upon her, however, is horrible. I had difficulty believing that anyone as talented as Claire would actually stay in that job for any reason after being yelled at, sworn at, and bullied by her boss Vivian, who thinks nothing of calling her at all hours of the day and night. Vivian's tantrums were too many and too much for me. Two or three would have been enough to emphasize how awful Vivian was, and I did get tired of listening to her yell.

Claire is really the only well-developed character. We understand her, sympathize with her, and totally lose patience with her, but she does manage to grow up and find herself in the end. The other characters, both good people and bad, are superficial, sketched in as background to Claire and her life. Once I figured out where she was going, I lost interest. I listened to the fifth and last CD being almost certain that I knew how the book would end, the only uncertainty being how the author would work that out.

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