I love it when I pick up a book and feel that the author is a kindred spirit. That’s the feeling I got when I read PJ Jones’s Romance Novel.
Though some folks regard parody as satire’s hillbilly cousin, I’ve always believed that a smart parody can brighten any day. Romance Novel skewers romance novels (duh), vampire novels (easy target, but still funny), westerns, Sean Connery and Australia. The humor is raunchy and low-brow, but hilarious.
Smella Rosepetal ‘s baby needs a $500,000 heart surgery to save his life. Smella doesn’t have that kind of dough, so she takes off for Texas to land a rich husband after dumping her sick baby on her friend Ebony. She meets the pasty, oddly-dressed Deadward and falls unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him. Her best friend from childhood Snake Long, who’s a were-gerbil, is love with Smella. She briefly considers a future with him, but decides he’s not suitable husband material because he’s not white or rich. There’s also a jilted cover-model named Flabio whom her father expects her to marry.
Poor Smella has many obstacles to overcome while trying to save her bastard child, secure a husband and lose her virginity. Her hair smells of shit and her new friends keep dropping dead, but our heroine handles all her tribulations with perky breasts and a pretty face.
The characters are aware that they’re in a novel and remind each other about romance novel rules, and that is but one of the running jokes in the story. Romance Novel is a fun read, but also a poignant stab at pop culture and stereotypes. Oh PJ Jones, you had me at “skanky crotch”.
You can read the first chapter on Jones’s blog, Unicorns, Tampons and Other Girly Things.