Donna Reads: Look the Part by Jewel E. Ann

Ellen Rodgers is a musical therapist, and she rents office space from attorney Flint Hopkins. Flint is a moody single father raising an autistic child. Free-spirited Ellen enjoys messing with Flint’s orderly existence. When he decides her musical therapy sessions are too loud for his peace of mind, he decides to evict her.

That was the basic premise of this story. The meat of the tale didn’t develop until late in the book. It was promoted as a romantic comedy, but I didn’t find it particularly humorous. I thought it dragged a bit in the middle, and I kept waiting for something (or anything) to happen. Instead of laughter, it actually brought me to tears when the two main characters split up at one point. Both Flint and Ellen had tragedy in their pasts. That caused a lot of the dithering, inactivity and indecision in their relationship and storyline.

I do have two criticisms:

1) As the mother of an autistic child, I find myself overly critical of fictional autistic characters. Something about Flint’s son, Harrison did not sit well with me. He gave in too easily. Autistic kids can be unreasonable and unrealistic. They don’t just cave and say “okay” when someone explains things. By the epilogue he seemed far too “normal” to me. Quirks don’t just disappear.

2) I’ve also been through two strokes (both of my parents). Ellen’s father’s recovery from his stroke was too rapid (he was speaking full sentences in the week it took for them to move/drive to Minnesota). His 100% recovery was too miraculously complete. It just wasn’t plausible for me.

Only parts of this one worked for me.

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