Dear Dwayne, With Love Review
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Some of us had imaginary friends as kids—playmates who always wanted to do the same things we did, who were always there for us. But the main character in author Eliza Gordon’s Dear Dwayne, With Love has kept her imaginary (but not-really-imaginary) friend well into adulthood.

The story follows aspiring actress Danielle Steele (with an e) on a completely unexpected adventure through romance and fitness. Dani’s life is at a standstill: she works a dull job between auditions, and she’s in a stale relationship with a guy whom she barely even likes anymore. She’s not as accomplished as her two older sisters, and she won’t be as long as she stays where she is. But she gets a much-needed push in the right direction when her agent calls to tell her about a grueling challenge sponsored by her idol, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and she’s inspired to start an impossible quest with a super-hot trainer, determined not just to compete but to win.

Dear Dwayne, With Love is a wild romantic comedy, following Dani through one mishap after another as she attempts to win the challenge and get to meet (and work with) her hero. Along the way, there are all kinds of impossible obstacles that Dani must overcome—both in her training and in her life—that sometimes make the story pretty far-fetched in the most entertaining of ways.

Dani’s obsession with The Rock gives the story a quirky twist—because much of it is told in diary entries written as letters to her idol or in imagined screenplays in which he appears at her side to teach her valuable life lessons. The author has certainly done her research here, often referencing Johnson’s history in his pep-talks—though she somehow missed the fact that Moana was released after the events in the story. Still, it’s all pretty amusing, with Johnson acting as cheerleader and spirit guide, offering advice and pushing her along on her journey.

The [real] characters, meanwhile, make the perfect chick lit duo. Dani is flawed and floundering—a kind and thoughtful character who had some rough times in life and just needs some good luck. Trainer Marco is impossibly sweet and handsome—and he believes in her and supports her through all of the craziness. He’s charming, too, despite his tendency toward all-too-obvious Britishisms to remind readers of his sheer Britishness. And though you’ll have a pretty good idea how things will end for them, you’ll still love seeing how it plays out.

Really, Dear Dwayne, With Love is the ideal rom-com. It’s funny, it’s hopelessly romantic, and it’s even motivational. It’s a light and fun read that may just inspire readers to push past their own fears and make some changes in their own lives.

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