Love and Braces (英語) ペーパーバック – 2007/2/22
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Sylvia's father is a dentist, and her one big act of teen rebellion was to refuse to get braces. Now that she has finished college there's more pressure on her to finally get them, and when her parents offer to pay for them she agrees to get braces after all. Love and Braces follows her through the whole ordeal, and tries to answer the question of whether or not it is possible to have both love and braces. Love and Braces is the second in the series of Dr.Samantha Wrighting novels.
The author sets up a very plausible story about a woman, Sylvia, who gets orthodontic treatment in her 20's: she rebelled as a teen but realizes as an adult that she should have gotten braces. Now she's setting out to fix her teeth, but realizes that being an adult with braces is probably tougher than being a teen. Of course she's in her 20's and in the prime of her dating life, and braces are going to affect that.
The first guy Sylvia meets seems very realistic, and the way their relationship moves along is persuasive. The second man is also pretty well-drawn and realistic, and I very much liked the way the author showed Sylvia's self-consciousness about the whole dating process while she has the "strike against her" of wearing braces. We're all self-conscious when we start a new dating relationship, and anything that we think might make us less attractive is bothersome. Sylvia shows this very nicely with her braces.
The other characters are a little uneven in terms of motivation, and have varying degrees of likeability. The orthodontist - a recurring character in Aimes's books - is brusque and disagreeable. This is fitting since Sylvia herself has a bit of a love/hate relationship with the orthodontist (and the braces, for that matter). Yet the orthodontic assistant is immediately cute and likeable, and a welcome relief from the orthodontist.
There are some elements of the story that strain credulity. Sylvia's orthodontist uses physical restraints when the patients are in the exam chair, which I'm pretty sure never actually happens. There is also one aspect of Sylvia's treatment that is slightly unrealistic, given her age, but it's also fun to read about and enhanced the story.
Sylvia has a friend undergoing orthodontic treatment. This character gives the author an opportunity to have the two characters commiserate about their braces and talk about them in some detail, which I found very enjoyable, even though the friend's reason for having braces is sort of ludicrous.
Aimes exaggerates the embarrassment factor of braces for her main characters, to the point of really harping on it. I've read that something like 20% of orthodontic patients are adults. There's at least one popular online forum for adults with braces, and it doesn't seem like the folks there are so mortified that they can barely leave the house. Years ago I went on a few dates with a woman with braces, and it seemed like no big deal except for the time we ate seaweed salad at the sushi bar. My wife sometimes wears a removable (but visible) orthodontic appliance when we're out, and she's completely untroubled by it.
There are a couple of typos in the book, which is somewhat common with niche books that don't go through the editing process of a major publisher. On the other hand, I just read "The Help" and found at least one typo in that!
The points above are nitpicky things in the broad scheme of the book, and didn't detract much from my enjoyment of this niche novel. If you're "into" adult braces and want to read an entertaining and fun story revolving around them, I certainly recommend this book. You'll like it!