Game Over
By Grace
Mar 31, 2004 - 11:57:00 PM

Cas Perry seems like the ultimate ballbuster.  In fact, she's not.  She picks men who are only interested in a good time, because she doesn't believe in love.  She believes in sex for its own sake.  Romance and love are pretty, commercial fairytales, and Cas doesn't intend to become the brokenhearted victim of an illusion.

Cas seems like a hard-hearted, amoral boss.  That's not the case.  She uses other people to get what she wants, just as they use her.  It's a measured game, and everyone involved knows the stakes.  She trusts no one, and assumes that no one trusts her.


The only exceptions to her sex-on-a-dime, take-no-prisoners attitude are her best friends, Issie and Josh, and her mother.  Although she manipulates them too.  But it's mutual, she rationalizes, as she permits them to manipulate her in return.  Everyone gets what they expect.  It's the same principle she uses in her sexual conquests.                              


So jaded are her views on love and relationships that when she needs to come up with a new idea for a television program, the up-and-coming TV producer invents Sex with an Ex, a reality show based on the premise that, given the opportunity, nearly everyone will cheat on the person they supposedly love.  And when they do cheat and prove Cas' theory correct, TV6 cameras will be there to record the evidence.


Darren Smith enters Cas' life as one of the Exes for the program.  But when he finds out what the show's all about, he declines to appear on it.  He's morally opposed to the show and the message it sends to the public.  But he seems to like Cas, in spite of the fact that it's her show.  It's her belief system that he's opposed to.


For the first time in her 33 years, Cas can't walk away from a man who doesn't fit her set mankiller protocol.  She follows Darren from London to Whitby on the pretext of convincing him to appear on the show.  Even though there's no way he ever would.  And the idea that she's pursuing a man who is her antithesis scares her, when she's finally honest with herself.


If you're a fan of chicklit, you'll appreciate Cas' emotional and moral awakening, as she learns that love is worth risk, even the risk of pain.  As a rule, I don't enjoy the genre, but Cas' growth and evolution as a person warmed me.  Adele Parks has penned a fascinating character and an insightful look into our popular culture and the role television plays in structuring our moral fiber.

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