JUPITER — Book clubs inspire members to become familiar with books written by authors that they might ordinarily not include among their reading list.
This is my book report.
If you don’t know what a Cluck in a Bucket is, you haven’t gotten hooked on author Janet Evanovich’s quirky heroine, Stephanie Plum.
You don’t know what your life is missing.
Back in 1994, I took time out from my spy thrillers by Tom Clancy, Daniel Silva, Jack Higgins and Harlan Coben and picked up a copy of One For The Money by Janet Evanovich. I was hooked.
My addiction didn’t end there. I kept passing the book around to my daughter, Donnie Quigley, a middle school teacher and to my younger daughter, Kathy Greene, WJTW radio’s Gal on the Go.
Kathy proceeded to introduce Jennifer Sardone-Shiner, marketing director for the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, and a fan club of addicted readers was created.
I even got my crossword/Sudoku loving husband, Paul, chuckling over the antics of the Evanovich characters while listening to book number seven, “Seven Up” while on a road trip.
Who can resist getting to know the dysfunctional Plum family living in a section of Trenton, New Jersey called the burg.
Stephanie’s mother just wants her daughter to settle down and get married. Her father ‘s goal is to stay uninvolved and possibly send his mother in law, Grandma Mazur, to an old age home. The wacky, over the top Grandma Mazur life revolves around calling hours at the local funeral home. Unfortunately, she usually manages to create a bit of havoc.
Stephanie has her own pad complete with her pet hamster, Rex. She’d like to stay independent of the family; however, she keeps getting fired. In desperation, she takes a job as a bounty hunter at her sleazy cousin Vinny’s , storefront bail bonds office.
From selling lingerie to touting a gun, pepper spray and handcuffs, life will never be the same for sassy Stephanie.
One for the Money has just been released as a movie.
The book was the first in a series that now numbers 18. Both the book and the movie introduce the main characters and how their lives become entwined. For theater-goers, consider it the first act. Hopefully, the series will continue on the big screen.
I would imagine it’s considered a low budget film. The biggest high ticket item would be the demolition of cars. Throughout the complete series, Stephanie goes through cars as fast as Lula goes through donuts and fried chicken from Cluck in a Bucket.
Stephanie’s first bounty hunt is for Joe Morelli a former school mate who managed to de-flower most of the high school girls in the burg, including Stephanie. Although Morelli is a cop, he’s wanted for an unlawful killing and the chase is on.
Since this is Stephanie’s first bounty hunting job, the office manager, Connie Roselli, provides her with help from an experienced hunter; the hunky man of few words and lots of action, Ranger. Evanovich’s description of Ranger is “His features are Anglo, his eyes are Latino, his skin is the color of a mocha latte, and his body is as good as a body can get.”
The introduction of Ranger sets the stage in future books for a competition between Morelli and Ranger for Stephanie’s affection.
One for the Money also introduces Lula, a retired hooker who sometimes rides shotgun for Stephanie. The colorful Lula loves bright colored spandex pants, high heels and solving any and all problems with a a shopping spree, a bag of donuts or some other completely fat saturated treat.
Evanovich’s talent lies in her ability to create a wonderful world of characters that are so descriptive you can visualize each and every one of them. The fast paced action and constant introduction of zany new oddballs keeps the readers engrossed from start to finish.
The Jupiter chapter of our Evanovich fan club met at Corners Restaurant for Lobster and wine then proceeded to the movie theater to enjoy being introduced to the larger than life Stephanie Plum menagerie.
It took me a while to get use to the casting as I already had the characters cast in my mind. Starting with Stephanie, portrayed by the exquisite Katherine Heigl, I always envisioned Sandra Bullock. Grandma Mazur played by Debbie Reynolds didn’t fit my Estelle Getty image. Cousin Vinnie I saw as Danny DeVito. Both Morelli, played by hunky Jason O’Mara and Ranger, (Daniel Sunjata) fit the image ; however, Lula should have been comedian/actress Niecy Nash. Sherry Shepherd who is in the movie, has the full blown image necessary but lacks Niecy Nash’s spectacular attitude.
However, it didn’t take me long to re adjust my brain and totally adopt my new friends.
The movie reviews for One for the Money, were not good. It’s not going to be nominated for any awards. It doesn’t send you home with a message; however, it certainly has you leaving the theater laughing and communicating with other audience members as they exit. Obviously, all are fans of life in “the burg.”
If you love mayhem and raucous humor and character driven books and movies, introduce yourself to One for the Money.
Bet you can’t read just one Evanovich book.
The Jupiter Chapter of the Janet Evanovich Book Club gathered at Corners Restaurant in Jupiter before previewing the first movie on the big screen, One for the Money. l-r front row: Jan Davisson, Donnie Quigley, back row: Kathy Greene, Jennifer Sardone Shiner