Welcome to The Booby Trap, a seedy bar where waitresses’ skirts are high, necklines are low and customers show up for the eye candy.
When brainy, beautiful, Harvard Ph.D. candidate Bambi Benson wants to study the women of the the Booby Trap for her dissertation, she goes undercover and joins them. All is going well for Bambi until handsome local celebrity Trip Whitley enters the scene. Hoping to shock his high-society family by dating a bimbo, Trip offers to pay Bambi to pretend to be his girlfriend. She accepts his offer and bides her time, waiting for the right moment to reveal her true identity and teach Trip not to judge based on appearances.
After a series of dates carefully orchestrated for their publicity value, Bambi’s trap is set. But there’s one problem: the predator might have fallen in love with her prey.
Let me start out by stating that this is a “first novel” but don’t let that keep you from reading and enjoying what has turned out to be a really fine read. Needless to say, the title is catching, but beyond that title page is a compelling story about a young woman who was unfortunate enough to be born to an unprincipled and uncaring mother, a woman who thought so little of her daughter that she named her after a Disney character. Now, as a beautiful and well endowed young woman, she is not only working at a sports bar that highlights her best feature (physically, of course) but also is the source of a most of her research on how people put women into categories based on their looks, their occupations, and so forth without even considering that they are smart, savvy, brainy, and surprisingly well-educated. In fact, most men in The Booby Trap bar don’t believe that Bambi is her real name, including the hero of the novel who is a brash, spoiled, not-quite-grown-up son of the owner of a dating service called Belles & Beaux. Thus, as a way of rebelling against his dad who doesn’t take him seriously (and probably shouldn’t at this point in his life), he employs Bambi as his publicity “date” for his family business, thinking she is a bimbo and a woman that will totally offend not only his dad but just about everyone on the Boston social register.
Now Bambi is one of those women who men assume is really simply waiting for a man to make the right proposition and she will fall into bed with him, especially for the right price, if you catch my drift. Which is exactly the kind of attitude that Bambi was studying for her doctoral dissertation–putting women into sexual categories based on their looks or the fact that they were waitressing at a sports bar. The spit hits the fan when Bambi chooses to reveal that she is a serious Ph.D student at Harvard Graduate School and not really the bimbo that everyone had assumed. Our hero is indeed ” . . . hoisted on the point of his own pitard.” And so the story moves on . . .
This is a well-written and well-thought-out novel about a couple who travel a very circuitous route to love and relationship, but it is also about the place women are assigned in our society that is so often based on external appearance. We hear often about “power dressing” or making sure that a woman appears to be serious and of a certain “class.” Even the PR individual in this story begins to recognize that she has allowed this attitude about women to determine how she sees herself and how she dresses for others and not for herself. Don’t get me wrong. It is a really interesting love story and one that I found kept me riveted throughout. But there is a deeper truth that underlies the novel and I also found that fascinating. Coming from a generation that grew up with the television image of women doing their vacuuming in dresses and high heels, it is very thought-provoking to analyze how women are indeed categorized and in the case of women who are waitresses at bars like The Booby Trap, put into a semi-sex trade kind of segment of society. It is a well-known fact that the men who would do nothing more than look longingly at women’s physical attributes at the symphony concert wouldn’t hesitate to pinch butts and openly rub up against bar waitresses.
This is a really fine piece of writing and while it was thought-provoking it was also very entertaining. The descriptive language was used with an economy of words–making each word do its job. I could so easily visualize the “show” Bambi was putting on for the society crowd deliberately, knowing that her name and her occupation were determining that they saw her as a low-class female “invading” their hallowed ranks. What a kick!! So I hope you will consider this book and find it stimulating to the brain as well as a very entertaining read. I’m so glad I found it.
I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.
This book is available from Pixel Entertainment. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.