When her sour puss goes viral Melissa "Bernie" Bernard reluctantly agrees to be part of a makeover project for the online magazine Glaze.com, and to prove that she isn't "undateable" by being set up on 30 dates in 30 days.
With all the requisite allusions to calico, sensible shoes, and cardigan sweaters it is also made clear that Bernie is no shrinking violet. Even as she submits to spending hours trying on "foundation garments" (things I previously only knew as bras and underpants) as well as additional time having her hair and makeup done, we see a person with plenty of agency. And, like any good librarian, she is also an advocate of free speech.
Few of Bernie's dates go well, and any reader will guess early on who she will end up with. Furthermore, it wasn't surprising to this librarian that it wasn't her new fancy duds that ultimately landed her a lover, but rather her brains. Bernie's very first date is an early fail when she discovers that not only does Pete (her date) not read, he's proud of it. I expect Bernie takes seriously John Waters' admonition that “If you go home with somebody, and they don't have books, don't fuck 'em!”
In this case she was able to most efficiently dispatch with the advice by discovering the disinterest in books over dinner. No need to waste time by going home with the guy.
I must admit that I did enjoy reading this. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that I will be reading any more romance novels before next August. So many books, so little time.