Fiction editor's dating clumsily real

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, March 10, 2014
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Patience Bloom works for a publishing house that's best known for its steamy romances with happy endings.

In "Romance Is My Day Job: a Memoir of Finding Love at Last," the bashful book editor chronicles her personal experiences from awkward prep school days, reckless college years and unsuccessful online dating to finally finding her "happily ever after" in her 40s.

Bloom juxtaposes her experiences with typical romance plots to demonstrate the stark contrast between fiction and reality. Wearing her insecurities as a badge of honor (she's afraid to fly, plagued by self-doubt and possesses an unruly red mane), she proves to be very human. Her recollections likely will spark a few mortifying flashbacks from readers' own lives.

As with many heroines in romance fiction, Bloom has faced conflict, including an unexplained and heartbreaking estrangement with her father. She appears to prevail with only a few occasional setbacks.

"Romance Is My Day Job" is peppered with a few cringe-worthy moments, a la Bridget Jones. Desperate to find a soul mate, she gets involved with the campus bad boy. After they split, she begs him (rather vocally) to take her back. Later she dates jerks like Nate the Spanker and constantly misreads — or ignores outright — the signs from these would-be beaus.

She diffuses her tales of woe with witty observations and genuine self-reflection. After years of accumulating a stockpile of "lessons learned," she offers sage advice to women who are wading into the dating pool.

Bloom is eventually rescued by a knight in shining armor named Sam. He's a high school crush who seeks her out decades later, not on horseback, but on Facebook.

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