Matthias Jessup, the hero of Michel Prince’s Silly Girl, affectionately calls the story’s heroine “Silly,” but Sylvia Kinder is anything but a silly woman. How he thought the nickname was suitable for this obviously strong-willed and intelligent woman who is used to taking care of herself is baffling to me. But that is just one problem I have with Silly Girl.
Matthias is the star of the Kansas City Emperors basketball team, so inured to the string of groupies in his bed that they are simply “blurs” to him. Added to his jaded existence is a preoccupation with warding off the Grim Reaper of his career – age and the effects of the rigors of running up and down the court on his body. Newly-divorced from Sharee, who still temporarily serves as his PR manager, Matthias feels the pressure to keep the money flowing in, whether it be from his lucrative NBA contract or from his many endorsement deals. But meeting Sylvia changes his perspective on the future.
Sylvia has worshiped Matthias from afar as one of his biggest fans. While working as a security guard at the Nelson Art Museum, she meets her idol at the museum’s latest art exhibit. She attempts to keep her cool around him and appear immune to his charm, but as a winter storm brews outside, Matthias’s attraction to her becomes more and more apparent. He invites her to his place with a promise to be a gentleman, but after hours together the passion between them flares white-hot. After three days practically alone together and now in love with each other, the two of them must face the real world and some of the issues his fame and her background bring to fore…and there’s an interracial aspect to their relationship. You see, he is Black and she is White.
Even though I found the premise and repeated themes of Silly Girl to be potentially promising and thought-provoking, I discovered that the execution of those elements of the story to be lacking in a few areas. Character development was hampered by dialogue that sometimes had no meaning and seemed out of context. There was quite a bit of head-hopping and these POV shifts often had me backtracking to figure out who was in the scene and who was speaking. The story could also use another round of editing because I was distracted by the many punctuation and capitalization issues.
I give Ms. Prince kudos for tackling a story about interracial romance and friendship. But I still, for the life of me, can’t figure out why Sylvia would allow Matthias to call her “Silly.”
-Reviewed by Angela