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Whatever You Want    by Rachel Timms & Laurence Hayes order for
Whatever You Want
by Rachel Timms
Order:  USA  Can
Regan, 2004 (2004)
Softcover, e-Book
*   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Whatever You Want is not your typical fiction. It is a novel about drunken, sex-filled escapades experienced by twenty-somethings in London and you get to decide where the story goes, who the main character is, and how it all ends ... so, if you dislike the ending when you arrive there, it's your fault because you chose that ending. When I picked it up, I knew this was going to be reading a unique, perhaps even special, type of book. After all, you don't normally choose the ending of a novel, nor do you get to choose who the characters will be. Here, you get to do both. You select one of two characters to be the 'lead player' in the story. Barbarella is a sharp, alluring and flirtatious female. Barnaby has an insatiable attraction to danger and beautiful women. Hopefully, you will like either Barbarella or Barnaby because you have to pick one of them.

I read the instructions (titled 'Warning!') on how to read the book and then proceeded as directed to the prologue. In it, you, the reader, are dreaming and your beloved-ex is partnered up with a sultry blonde at a party at some 'gigantic country house.' At the end of the prologue, you are given three options as to which 'scene' to proceed to next. I picked the third, which directed me to Scene 206. After I turned some four hundred plus pages into this large book, Scene 206 instructed me to close the pages, grab my receipt and return the book to the bookstore. After lowering my raised eyebrows and having a bit of a chuckle, I flipped back to the prologue and chose a different option one that did not recommend that I return the book to the bookstore. Options one and two lead you to either becoming the Barbarella or Barnaby character. Depending on the character you choose, the question becomes whether you will fight to win back your beloved-ex or whether you will have the 'time of your life' getting over him or her.

While the book scores brownie points for uniqueness and an eye-catching cover, it felt like too much work to read it. The flow is choppy, understandable given the format of the book, but annoying after a while. Flipping back and forth between scenes became tiresome, and the drunken sex escapades and violence felt smarmy after a while. (Readers who do not have thick skin may find the scenes smarmy from the outset.) Though this book initially intrigued me, my interest and enjoyment rapidly dwindled as I fumbled my way to my own 'custom ending.' While some readers may enjoy the format and approach of Whatever You Want, others will not find it an enjoyable reading experience.

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