The Things I did For Love - Ellen Conford

Title –  The things I did for Love – Ellen Conford
Date – 1987
Alternate title – ‘Height doesn’t matter as long as you’ve got the right hunk!’ quote from pg 80
Page count – 137
The Agenda  – Sixteen year old Stephanie Kasden, a tall klutz, wonders about all the love stuff she seems to be missing out on and decides it would make a great psych project. Why do fools fall in love? She’s got prime inspiration from her best friend Amy who latest find is Farley Malone a mohawked, motorcycle riding thug who belongs to a tame biker gang. While Stephanie interviews her classmates she just might get a shot to do her own research when Amy offers up Farley’s friend Bash. Although, Stephanie emphatically insists, she will not date a boy named Bash the thought of clinging to a boy wearing a black leather jacket on the back of a motorbike softens her defenses.
Plot – As Stephanie sets out to crack the code on love she winds up getting several boys interested in her at once. There’s hunky, moody Bash who may not be taller than her but he sure can kiss. And then there’s golden boy Trevor who mistakenly believes Stephanie’s psych project is covering her crush on him which gets him interested. He’s definitely worth a date after all he drives a Porsche, he’s rich, a little arrogant, and brings her out-of-season tulips. Then there is boring dependable Jon, her best friend, whose jealousy sparks whenever Bash is around or rather whenever Amy and Farley are around ( yup, he’s got a thing for Amy. ) But even when Stephanie decides that Bash is the thug for her, she still has to wonder what exactly do they have in common other than making out.
Unintentionally funny – ? I doubt it – the book is a funny romance ( this is Ellen Conford )  so everything is intentional.
Funny – Everything. This book is funny. It’s sharp witted, droll but it’s Conford and no one does funny quite like Conford. One dreamy cheerleader describes love as having a boyfriend who can pick her up with one arm making Stephanie quip if that’s true I better start hanging out with body builders.
That’s whacked – I have to admit though I love Conford sometimes I feel like I want something more from her novels. In this 134 page book, which is not even as beefy as some Sweet Valley High editions – even #46 Decisions clocks out at 167 pages, the date with Bash doesn’t appear until page 48. And only 45 pages are dedicated to interactions with Bash because there are only five of them from meeting, first date, a rocky moment, to break up to make up. I think the mc spends more time with best friend Jon. But this isn’t just a romance so I’ll forgive her, it’s more a satire about love with some believable complications. 
Best Comment – Stephanie! Love is not just making out! – pg 93
Bullwer Little would be proud – I can’t think of anything cheesy so I’m give another lol quote.
    “I think your folks liked me,” Trevor said, as he helped me squirm into his car.
    “Liked you? If we don’t get along together, my mother has dibs on you.” pg101.
Cover Art – Don’t know if the book was released with another cover but I have the Bantam Starfire
edition which features Steffie drawn as a very pretty redhead while Bash’s eyes are a little off. Though I have to admit, his lips look fairly luscious and he’s been given that late 80’s punky Spandeau Ballet hair.

Summary / Opinion – I love Conford. She’s sharp, funny and effortless. She draws a reader in with her breezy efficiency and she totally nails believable dialogue. If you’ve never read Ellen Conford this or Anything for a Friend is a good place to start. This like a total Goldilocks dating scenario as she’s got the three examples of love possibilities in the same venue as when the old B&E babe tested out chairs or porridge. She has a lot of vehicle issues – Bash’s motorcycle makes her feel homogenized, Trevor’s Porsche nearly gives her a concussion ( giant klutz exiting wee vehicle ) only Jon’s car feels just right. Also the dating scenario is fraught with Goldilocks/Steph trying to find the right fit – only to learn it’s not quite so easy to categorize what makes someone right, you just feel it.
80’s comparison – No doubt about the timing – 1987, the biker as bad boy boyfriend can only bring to mind what was playing out on televisions everywhere – Mallory Keaton falling for Nick in Family Ties.  And the comparison is really brought home by the introductions –
    ““I’d like you to meet my friend Bash Bernstein. Bash, this is Stephanie Kasden.”
    “Yo,” Bash said.
    “Yo,” I replied. “This is Jon Hecht.”
    I just stood there as the yos flew thick and fast, staring at Bash.” – pg 30.
    Remember Nick saying Yo Mallory! And here’s a peek at the actor. He even looks a little like Bash or vice versa.

Scott Valentine best

RECOMMEND OR PASS? – recommend! – out of 5 star – ****


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