Train Wreck

Train Wreck - Elise Faber 2.75 stars

I wanted to read Train Wreck because it sounded cute. I was hoping for a light, funny read, and it did deliver, with mixed results. The premise of the story is that Pepper is a klutz, and that everything she touches quickly goes wrong. This was amusing at first, but it quickly became tiring. If Pepper was consistently that clumsy and constantly injuring herself, I don’t see how she could have successfully managed to make it to her mid-twenties without permanently damaging herself. Really. She’s that much of a clod. Tripping. Falling. Almost getting hit by cars. Cutting herself on broken glass. Etc., etc., etc. Sigh.

Pepper, the daughter of a mega-successful movie producer, is hanging out in a small town, living in a beach house, just trying to keep it together. Attempts at holding down menial jobs aren’t working for her, because disaster follows in her footsteps. Her latest attempt at financial independence is working for a burger place, waving a specials sign at traffic. She spaces off, steps into the street, and is almost plowed over by a car. But she’s saved – but Derek! Her older brother’s BFF. Mortified, Pepper can’t believe that she’s been reunited with her teenage crush by almost being crushed by a little old lady’s car.

Derek is in town scouting locations for the movie he’s working on. He’s also keeping an eye on Pepper. Her father has agreed to finance his project, but only if he keeps Pepper out of trouble. Derek reluctantly agrees, because he has nowhere else to turn for funding. While he tries to keep his distance from Pepper, he can’t resist her. She’s peppy and fun, even if she’s a walking disaster zone.

The romance was cute, until the wedding. Pepper’s brother is getting married, and both she and Derek are in the wedding party. So is Pepper’s obnoxious ex. Before Pepper and Derek fly on a private plane to the island for the wedding, they are closer than two bugs in a rug. Once the plane lands, Derek is cold and unapproachable. The hot – cold thing drove me nuts. I don’t care that he wants to change the terms of his deal with her dad before making their relationship more permanent. You don’t treat someone like they are gold one minute, and then treat them like they are trash the next. In front of her unsupportive family, and in front of her jerk ex. The conflict felt forced and unnecessary, and oh, yeah, once they got back home, he was all “I love you!” again. Um, nope. His behavior was inexcusable, and only made me think he was cold and uncaring.

Pepper’s family – ugh. Poor Pepper is blamed for any and every mishap, whether she has any involvement in it or not. I really wanted to throw her dad and her clueless brother in the shark infested waters. What a bunch of self-absorbed twits.

The other major irritant for me was when Pepper was feeling sorry for herself. She needs to break free of her family. She wonders, as she sits in her ocean front cottage, how she can earn her own money. While she is working through her list of things she doesn’t want to do (go back to school, work with kids) she starts to become disheartened. All I wanted to do was tell her to get a job like all the rest of us. The rich-girl self-pity party did not work well for me.

So, I enjoyed the story – until the wedding. Then I found it irritating and unbelievable. Everyone got down on Pepper, and she just accepted how her crappily her family treated her. That must have rubbed off on Derek, because he started acting like a douche, too, and I wouldn’t have blamed Pepper if she told him to hit the road. I recommend this for an afternoon by the pool. It’s a quick read that doesn’t require much emotional investment.