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The Boyfriend School (Ballantine Reader's Circle) Paperback – August 26, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Gretchen Griner, overworked photographer for the Austin Grackle , isn't thrilled when her deadbeat editor and tomcatting boyfriend Trout sends her to Dallas to shoot the annual romance writers' "Luvboree." But she returns to Austin fired up to write a "bodice-ripper" after meeting Lizzie, a romance queen who speaks in an irritating medieval patois, and Juanita, who touts her books as "wet dreams for dry dames." Though Lizzie offers her gentle brother, "the Wisp," as an antidote to the no-good Trout, Gretchen thrusts him aside in order to catch a hood on a motorcycle. Bird lets loose with the manic sense of humor demonstrated in her first novel, Alamo House . Here the hilarity is even gamier and more strained. While Gretchen racks up points for charm when evading her landlord, trading smart-aleck repartee and cruising Austin's streets in a lumbering Delta '88, the novel is heavy-handed and somewhat sophomoric. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Bird's first novel, Alamo House (LJ 9/1/86), was a hilarious female version of Animal House . Now she's once again written a hilarious novel, but this time it's a warm send-up of sorts of romance writers. Gretchen Griner, a dedicated journalist and photographer working for a semiunderground newspaper, is forced to cover the "luvboree," a romance writers' convention. Expecting the worst, Gretchen instead finds her subjects interesting and intellectual, if a little eccentric. Two of them, Juanita and Lizzie, become her friends and attempt to turn Gretchen into a real-life romantic heroine by finding her a boyfriend . Bird is emerging as a writer to watch, and though her wit is piercing and cuts right to the core, it is always tempered by warmth and good intentions. Highly recommended. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.
- Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Cty. Lib., Seaside, Cal.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Ballantine Reader's Circle
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034546009X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345460097
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #885,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Why is this book out of print, and so hard to find. I read it many years ago when I stumbled across it in a library in Vernon, B.C. I loved it so much, and recommended it to all my friends, but could never find it... anywhere. No other library seems to have heard of Sarah Bird. Well to all readers who like to have fun with characters and laugh out loud, go out of your way to find this one. It is delightful. A reporter is sent to cover a romance writers conference (porbably the worst assignment in the newsroom that day. No one in a newsroom has very high regards for these books or writers.) But little does our reporter know she is in for the ride of her life. What can fans do to get this book back into print??
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't tell her it's me (renamed the Boyfriend School for the DVD release) is one of my favorite movies. It's my go-to movie, when I want to smile and enjoy a simple and beautiful romantic comedy. It has charm, and humor, and wit. This book has none of it. I am so disappointed. It's written quite childishly, quite like a first attempt at a movie. The characters are quite unlikeable. And I found myself skipping over pages that seemed to drone on forever. I gave it 2 stars instead of 1 because it still had some of my fave source material. But honestly, the screen writer who wrote the movie should have gotten an Oscar. For being to take a less than mediocre book of one dimensional characters and making it a warm and lovely movie.
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Format: Paperback
One of my very favorite books. For years, it was out of print. I never could understand why. Recently I was delighted to see a new edition in a bookstore. A whole new group of readers can discover Sarah Bird's wonderful characters, snappy dialogue, humor, romance and original plot.
Her main character, Gretchen, works for a second-rate and declining publication as a writer\photographer. She's assigned to cover a convention of romance novelists. Initially very snobbish about this kind of writing, she's won over by the intelligence of the writers she meets. Some of them become her friends. One friend, Lizzie, is a particularly unforgettable character, an intellectual with college degrees in arcane academia from an intellectual family with a supersmart husband and brother, a take-charge manner, and bizarre child-raising ideas. She's also a major star in the romance novelist galaxy. Another, Juanita, is earthy, nosy and nurturing.
Gretchen's new friends encourage her to try to write a romance novel herself. We see her struggles with creating hero and heroine, plot devices and language, failing to "transcend the genre," and surviving on Cup-a-Noodles. Along the way, she copes with her philandering sometimes-boyfriend boss, dodges attempts by her new friends to match-make, and by her landlord to collect the rent, copes with writer's block, learns the conventions of the romance novel, has a storybook adventure, solves a mystery, has an exotic romance herself, and learns how to write a love scene that soars, and sells.
While her heroine has to learn to create within the limits of the romance novel format, Ms. Bird goes far beyond it.
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By A Customer on February 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read this on recommendation from a reviewer of Olivia Goldsmith's Bad Boy, who claimed that Bad Boy was just a regurgitation of Sarah Bird's book. Now that I've read both, I must agree that The Boyfriend School is the superior book. I thought that the beginning was somewhat sluggish and Gretchen's "special friend" incredibly irritating (overblown and undergroomed). However, after the plot gained speed and the special friend faded out, I was drawn into Bird's quirky characters and Gretchen's angst about her true romantic nature. This is a really charming book that shouldn't be out of print when so many Bridget Jones copy-cats are littering the shelves. And coincidentally, I didn't think that Bad Boy shares much more than a plot device with The Boyfriend School.
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By A Customer on March 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I am not a person who usually rereads books, but I just read THE BOYFRIEND SCHOOL for the third time in ten years, and it's one of my absolute favorites. Funny and yet touching, as well. I'm so glad that this book was recommended to me years ago. What I'd like to know is, what happened to Sarah Bird? After 1993, I can't find any record of her having written anything.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Whether you read romance novels or make fun of them this novel is for you. Funny and very close to the truth for many of us. This book is s great pleasure. I have read it twice and recommended it to many.
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Format: Hardcover
Okay, maybe the second half, after she discovered Rye, wasn't my favorite part. I really liked the beginning, when she's describing life at her magazine and at home, LOVED the Luvboree, Juanita, Carrie, Lizzie, and Andrea. Enjoyed excerpts from Gretchens book and from others. What I didn't like about the part with Rye was that it seemed like she didn't spend as much time with Juanita and Lizzy, and when the three of them were together was the funniest part in the whole book. However, the climax is interesting and unexpected, and I loved all the characters, the humor, and the setting. God, if I met someone like Rye I wouldn't care how many Trouts I had to go through to get to to him. Gus Kubiak is sweet. I know some people think that Gretchen is shallow about him, but you have to think, the author was trying to be realistic. Not a lot of women would be phycologically capable of looking past that face and that much earnestness(desperation).
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