Go to Homepage   Vicki Hendricks: Iguana Love


Crescent Blues Book ViewsImage: two  moon gifSt. Martin's Minotaur (Paperback), ISBN 0-312-26752-5
How can I say this? -Iguana Love, a noir romance (or something) with a literal title, is just plain weird.

Vicki Hendricks spins the tale of Ramona Romano, whose main interests include sex, neglecting her pets and more sex. Book: Vicki Hendricks, Iguana LoveAnd the sex, while real, just misses interesting. She accurately describes what it might be like to boff an over-developed work-out junkie on a weight bench. But I so disliked the characters involved that the scene left me cold.

OK, the story involves more than just sex. We also find lust, desire and sheer stupidity. Ramona, a nurse, becomes obsessed with scuba diving and copulating with the guys in the dive shop. She feels guilty because, well, her urges force her to cheat on her husband, then engage in guilt-sex with him when she returns from the dive shop. Still she feels he doesn't deserve this treatment.

So when Ramona's husband accidentally (maybe) kills her neighbor's pet snake, she kicks him out of the apartment -- thereby freeing herself to have guiltless sex. This also frees her to go after Enzo, a dive instructor. Ramona ignores all warnings about Enzo and jumps right into the sack and into his illegal drug trafficking.

Book: Vicki Hendricks, Voluntary Madness

Interspersed with diving and Enzo, we discover Ramona's other obsession -- body building. Impatient with her slow progress in the gym she decides to use steroids to beef up her body. She acquires the body she wants but she also grows a little something extra "down there," and loses her breasts and her libido. This doesn't deter Enzo in the least. He uses her new body every chance he gets, and she goes along because he's Enzo and, well, she just loves him so much.

What with the diving and drug smuggling and Enzo and body building, Ramona sort of forgets her pets. She starts out with a cat, catches an iguana and takes over the care of a litter of kittens. She continually debates with herself about letting the iguana go but, of course, never does. By the end, she runs over to her apartment a couple days a week to throw food and water at the pets and leave. She finally returns to find her cat ignoring her (duh), the kittens pretty much grown and feral (duh), and the iguana…well, I don't want to give that away.

While Hendrick's writing style proves very readable, most of her characters disgusted me to the point that I couldn't enjoy the book. Hendrick's goal with this book remains unclear. If she wanted to gross me out -- that worked. If she wanted to show the idiocy of people -- that worked. I have a feeling, though, that her loftier intentions simply escaped me.

Heather Firth

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