My rating: 3 of 5 stars
What happens when an uptight writing professor and an escort become friends? In
Thirty-four year old professor Andi Cutrone is suffering from a broken heart; she recently broke up with her fiancé and has moved back to Long Island to try to forget him and move on, emotionally and literally. But it isn’t working. She’s miserable, even though her job is fulfilling and her best friend Maggie is supportive. Andi starts to question her ability to even attract a man, let alone be in a relationship. There must be something wrong with her, she concludes,that drives men away.
Then Andi meets Devin at a work social, the gorgeous escort who appears to be a bit of a hit with the female professors on the lecture circuit. He seeks Andi out but she rebuffs him, thinking he is just trying to build his client base. But she keeps seeing him at other events and at each event Devin seeks her out, talks to her, and seems to enjoy her company. Andi doesn’t understand. She isn’t his type, he’s gorgeous, and he could have his pick of anyone! Eventually she confronts him, tells him she can’t afford him, that there is no point talking to her anymore. Devin is hurt that she has made the assumption it is all business and tells her that he wants to talk to her because he finds her interesting. Andi doesn’t believe him but has an idea. She decides to employ Devin to teach her to be a better lover and to be a happier woman; he’s the expert, after all. They draw up a contract, and in return for Andi teaching Devin how to write, he will teach her how to love. One golden rule – they mustn’t fall in love with each other and they can’t see each other socially; this is purely a business relationship. But slowly, as they work together and Andi starts to learn how to love herself (for if she can’t love herself how can she love anyone else?) they come to realize that they are both “faking it,” and that they have both been hiding things from themselves as well as from the outside world. The layers of deceit are peeled away, and suddenly the contract golden rule is in doubt…
Faking It is an amusing, well-written version of the modern love story. Andi is all too real as the attractive, intelligent woman who should be happy, but isn’t, with her self-doubt and low self-esteem wrecking her chances of finding true love. Her inability to trust herself and her own instincts is cleverly reinforced in the chapter headings. The naming of the first five chapters list the months passing one by one, reinforcing how Andi is just marking time, counting the months which continue to distance her from her heartache. Then in Chapter Six there is a change in the chapter names from months passing to weeks adding up, indicating a shift in Andi’s perception. She is no longer counting months of misery, she is counting the weeks of happiness, those weeks spent with Devin. Finally at the novel’s end, Andi is looking forward not backwards.
The reader can’t help but get caught up in “will they, won’t they?” speculation: Will Andi finally learn to be happy? Can Devin turn his back on the escort business to follow his dream? Will they become more than friends and colleagues? With a confident, chatty writing style, Elisa Lorello has created witty, amusing, realistic characters in
Elisa Lorello teaches first-year writing full time at NC State and has been living near Raleigh in North Carolina since 2006. Her sequel to Faking It, Ordinary World, will be published later this year. Currently, Elisa is collaborating on a new novel with S.R. Paquette, dubbed her “friend and partner-in-crime.”