Mad About Maddie by Cheryl Anne Porter
(St. Martinís, $6.50, PG) ISBN 0-312-97895-2
Mad About Maddie holds the dubious distinction of lulling me to sleep for seven nights in a row...a new record. Lest you think Iíve just been a bit tired lately, when I finally finished the book, I rewarded myself by immediately starting a new book by a favorite author and I devoured it in one sitting. Reading Ďtil the wee hours of the night, I might add.

When Mad About Maddie opens we find Maddie Copeland trying desperately to keep her composure and not laugh out loud at the funeral of her dear friend, Jim Madison. Sort of like that old Chuckles the Clown episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, but, unfortunately, not nearly as funny.

Maddie is unaware that her charming old friend was actually a billionaire and the head of a thriving advertising company, Madison and Madison. The other Madison in the title belongs to Jimís grandson, Hank.

It seems that Hank is quite the workaholic and the only way that Jim can figure to slow the poor boy down is to bequeath the entire Madison fortune to Maddie. But there is a catch. If Hank will agree to slow down long enough to spend a six week vacation in Maddieís picturesque New England town of Hanscomb Harbor, heíll get the company back. Although Jimís personal wealth will still go to Maddie.

Naturally, Hank is beside himself. Heís certain Maddie must be some type of golddigger, who wrapped his late grandfather around her little finger. So he sets of to Hanscomb Harbor to see just whatís up.

Now on the surface, this didnít sound all that bad. A stuff-shirt workaholic forced to relax in a quaint New England village, having to answer to a ditsy blonde who could care less how much money heís worth. But, somehow, the whole thing fell flat.

Part of the reason much of this didnít work for me was because the action in several of the key scenes actually happens behind the scenes. For instance, the scene for the reading of the will. The author breaks away just as Maddie and Hank enter the attorneyís office and we only learn the details later in a phone call Maddie makes to a friend. Hankís explosion when he learns the details of his inheritance would have been a lot more fun had the reader been in the room as it happened.

This occurs again during a pivotal New York board meeting scene, when the action abruptly shifts to Maddie back in Hanscomb Harbor and we learn the details of the meeting through Maddieís thoughts.

Actually, the characters spend an inordinate amount of time in their thoughts. They seem unable to move from point A to point B without pages of "what-ifís". They pause to reflect endlessly on every mundane aspect of every situation until this reader found herself dozing off...again. Itís difficult to believe that Hank could manage an entire business empire, but be unable to make the simplest decision.

Mad About Maddie is supposed to be a romantic-comedy, but except for a few one-liners, it was patently unfunny. Since humor is subjective, Iíll be the first to admit, it might just be me. When itís all said and done, Hank might be Mad About Maddie, but Iím just mad I wasted seven nights trying to read this book.

--Karen Lynch

@ Please tell us what you think! back Back Home