Is That a Moose in Your Pocket?
by Kim Green
(Delta, $11.95, R) ISBN 0-385-33717-5
Reading this book is bit like sitting down and watching an entire season of Will & Grace or Friends on DVD. Fun, witty but just a bit much all at once. You have a pretty, young heroine who bemoans her lack of sex life and her group of equally attractive and charming friends. They all live together in that wonderful fantasyland where you have gourmet pizza parties and can afford to fly out to visit your friends at a momentís notice. Oh yes, and everyone wears gorgeous clothes that fit really well.

After finding out she's about to get screwed out of a promotion she very much deserves, reporter Jen Brenner decides to make a bold change in her life and take a job at a small town newspaper in Meredith, Montana. There she discovers a life quite different from her very cosmopolitan one in San Francisco. For one thing, she's suddenly surrounded by hot, available, and most importantly, straight men. It seems she may just end her two year long celibacy. She meets a handsome environmental activist named Steve who seems perfect in every way. For some reason though, Jen can't stop thinking about Bruce Mortensen, a soon to be divorced EPA agent who is terribly old at forty-four.

Jen is your typical self-absorbed, neurotic chick lit heroine. She spends a lot of time worrying about her single status at the "ancient" age of thirty and her celibacy. Although the reader is tempted to hate her, particularly one of the many times she avoids an issue by getting plastered on trendy cocktails, there is something about her one can't help but like. Maybe it's because most readers will be able to identify with the horror of confronting an ex-boyfriend's new squeeze while looking like a slob, or the melancholy of being the only single at a party full of couples.

Although Bruce is technically the hero in the book, the story really is not one of his and Jen's relationship. It is all about Jen, and her daily struggles with her life and emotions. Because the book is told in first person, Bruce is relegated to being an afterthought. He's the one Jen wants, and lusts after, but as far as getting to know him, the reader doesn't. That is not unexpected, because this book is by no means a traditional romance. I mean the heroine at one point has sex with someone other than the hero *gasp*.

The secondary characters mostly include Jen's group of painstakingly multi-cultural friends. For example, there is her married gay friend Robert, who is always on hand to give Jen a little Queer Eye for the Straight Girl treatment about her wardrobe or Katie, the frank Vietnamese-American who favors wild hairdos and bold sex. The whole group is straight from central casting of popular singleton shows. Still, they're a fun bunch and amusing despite their two dimensionality.

Each chapter is begun with an e-mail that either foreshadows an upcoming event or gives some insight into a character's personality. These can be funny at times, particularly one that is a receipt from an online drugstore. At first glance, it's not known why the reader should be interested in it, but as the story goes on it's meaning becomes humorously clear. There are many other moments in the book that can make the reader laugh out loud, but I won't spoil them.

Green has a quick, engaging writing style that hooks the reader. She peppers the books with frequent pop culture references to remind the reader how hip she is (although Mortal Kombat? Soooo mid-nineties). At times, however, she is guilty of trying a bit too hard to make Jen the next Bridget Jones. Green even references Helen Fielding's writing in the story. The most distracting example of this is when the very American Jen starts spouting odd British sounding phrases like tatty-looking and slattern.

In general however, Is That a Moose in Your Pocket? is a lighthearted fun read sure to be popular with fans of Bridget Jones and Sex and the City type shows.

--Anne Bulin

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