I needed a book about or set in Hollywood for the 2023 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, so in digging through my TBR, I found How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days by K.M. Jackson (Forever, 2021), a book that I’ve wanted to get to ever since it first came out. I love a good romance, even better if it involves a celebrity, and I do enjoy books about people’s obsessions, because they’re so relatable (I even find other people talking about their obsessions online – even when I don’t share them – charming! I love enthusiasm). Through no fault of its own, the book wasn’t quite the book for me, but it definitely has its charm.
Bethany Lu Carlisle is an artist who just can’t seem to settle down. She’s over 40 now and though her art is at least successful enough to support her (along with help from her wealthy family), she’s still flitting from thing to thing, spending a lot of time obsessing over her favorite actor, Keanu Reeves. Learning he’s about to be married is her record-scratch moment: what is she doing with her life? She should stop him, shouldn’t she, and maybe convince him to marry her?
With her lifelong best friend Truman, Lu goes on a series of adventures designed to put her in Keanu’s path, but somehow always missing the mark. Along the way, she and True have some parts of their relationship that they’ve been avoiding discussing for years to iron out, including their shared grief over the death of Lu’s brother long ago. With a string of celebrity cameos, How to Marry Keanu Reeves in 90 Days will bring together two soulmates – just not the ones you might expect.
I’m not sure exactly what didn’t work for me here. Despite her flaws, I liked Lu. She’s funny, dedicated to her art, aware of where she could be doing better in life, and goal-oriented, and I enjoyed her Keanu obsession. I liked True (despite his being an economist, haha). He’s so dedicated to Lu, setting up her Keanu search and helping her with every step. I liked the setting, I liked the plot, I loved the celebrity cameos (meeting Captain America in a bathroom, meeting Lisa Bonet and Jason Momoa at a New Mexican campground, etc). But for whatever reason, reading this just felt more like a chore than it did a fun experience. I don’t know if I didn’t connect well with the writing style – there’s nothing wrong with it, it just didn’t reach out and grab me – or what, but this wasn’t the book for me.
I’m forever grateful to Anne Bogel of the What Should I Read Next? podcast, who taught me that not every book is for every reader, that we’re not going to form strong connections to every book, and that’s fine. The relief I felt upon learning this, upon hearing her put this out into the world, was enough to make me weep when I first heard it years ago. It doesn’t mean the book is bad or that you’re a lesser person for not enjoying it, it just means that wasn’t the book for you. And that’s fine. And this wasn’t the book for me, and that’s fine, too. Live and learn. : )
Visit K.M. Jackson’s website here.