A review by bhnmt61
Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie


I’ve long said that this is my favorite romance novel and that’s probably still true. But the last time I read it was six or eight years ago, and I noticed some problems with it this time that I don’t remember noticing before.

On the plus side, the complicated plot feels like one of those old 1940s rom coms - mistaken identities, orphan origins revealed, and mob connections, with elements of farce and almost slapstick sprinkled in. It’s still one of the best examples of snappy, witty dialogue that I think I’ve ever read. And Agnes’s journey to acceptance of her own inner crazy still strikes me as remarkably wise.

But there’s also the character of Carpenter, who probably qualifies as a “magical Negro” - a trope noted by Spike Lee which I had never heard of until about a year ago. And even having said that, I still love Carpenter in this book. He has far more agency and personal power than what Lee is talking about, I think, but unfortunately it’s still there. And in a more contemporary romance, Agnes would be out there kicking ass and taking names instead of letting Shane handle it.

But it’s still an enjoyable read and still far wittier and more intelligent than most in this genre. Maybe the shine is off a smidge. I wish Mayer and Cruise would get back together and write again, because the three books they wrote together are better (imo) than the books they’ve written on their own.