Book review: Next Time, by Robin Alexander

Alexander Next TimeAlexander, Robin. Next Time. Intaglio Productions. 2015. $7.99. 183p. ISBN 978-1-935216-71-1.

The book begins with an interview of how Payton and Ryann met. As soon as they begin reminiscing, the interview format becomes a fiction format in which Payton and Ryann meet in a bar, casually conversing as wingwomen for Payton’s friend and Ryann’s neighbor who are meeting for the first time after on-line dating. Although the two women find sudden interest in each other while watching their two friends, neither says anything because Ryann has a very tall, big, and jealous type lover named Leigh. Payton suffers from both wanting Ryann and losing the company of her friend.

Before meeting Payton, Ryann had been trying to dump Leigh and achieves success after the painful discovery that Leigh has several lovers on the side. Now that both Payton and Ryann are free to pursue each other, they set out on a variety of escapades; i.e., jumping in a car and driving with no destination, no preparation. They go until the thrill of freedom is overcome by the desire to return home. Also, they decide to learn Krav Maga self-defense so that Payton could take down Leigh, who is still following and threatening them. What they actually get is excruciating muscle pain, and a broken leg for Ryann when Leigh runs over her.

Both major and minor characters are delightfully genuine as the reader learns about their doubts and reflections. For example, Payton’s sister manages to deal with husband, children, and her sister in delightfully funny and warm off-the-wall ways while still retaining her sanity.

Generously scattered throughout the novel are brilliantly crafted scenes that evolve into side-splitting laugh-out-loud episodes with both hilarious action and witty dialog. The humor is accompanied by a wondrous, loving sweetness in all the characters as they support each other in this fun reading experience of meet, greet, find your soul mate, and move in together. The best part is Alexander’s talent to continually surprise the reader through her ability to set a scene that quickly turns hysterical. It has been a very long time since I have laughed out loud so hard I hurt. I recommend this for public libraries and individuals searching for an entertaining read.

Sue Hardesty, Retired Librarian
Newport, OR

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