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Cassandra French's Finishing School For Boys Paperback – 1 Sep 2005


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow; New Ed edition (1 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099472554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099472551
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,984,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"

'A hilarious parody ... Unspeakable fun'

" (New York Times)

"

'Garcia has a knack for pointing out the absurdities of both the female mind and Tinseltown. And though the situation soon turns hilariously outrageous, anyone who's been on a really bad date can relate. A-'

" (Entertainment Weekly)

"'Prepare for a twisted tale ... Garcia pushes the limit of laugh-or-gasp fun as Cassandra trains her former dates in the skills of woman-pleasing. Warped? Yes. But who doesn't want a well-behaved man?'" (Marie Claire)

"'Eric Garcia has written a great satirical twist on chick lit.'" (Chicago Tribune)

"'Sex and the City meets Misery' " (Houston Chronicle)

Book Description

'HILARIOUS AND WILDLY IMAGINATIVE; A SCREAM FROM START TO FINISH' WENDY HOLDEN

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Joe HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 3 Nov. 2004
Format: Hardcover
"The last fifteen years of failed dates, the boys with wandering hands, the boys whose hands didn't wander enough, the ones who left and the ones who wouldn't let me leave. They didn't deserve to walk into a room with Cassandra French on their arm."
Thus, with that dysfunctional experience with male-female relationships in her past, 29-year old Cassandra French, employed in the business office of a Los Angeles movie studio, proactively sets out to mold three young men with promise - her "boys" - into the New Age men they could be, replete with polished manners, polite language, sensitivity to a woman's needs, chivalry, and good fashion sense. Cassie has kept Owen, Alan and Daniel chained to cots in the basement of her Westwood home for months, alternating behavioral modification "lessons" with doses of calming morphine. (I've lived in SoCal for five decades, and have never been in a home with a basement. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, my Dad built a bomb shelter under our garage - but that doesn't count.)
CASSANDRA FRENCH'S FINISHING SCHOOL FOR BOYS is, believe it or not, a remarkably comedic novel. Author Eric Garcia pulls this off by making his heroine decidedly unhinged, but not cruel or even unkind. Indeed, she reads her charges bedtime stories, tucks them in at lights out, entertains them with games and a regular "movie night", keeps them properly fed, and fully intends to release them back into the world once they "graduate". But things begin to unravel when she "enrolls" in her school a famous actor who'd seduced and bedded her for uncommonly selfish and boorish reasons. Once under restraint and in her control, he subsequently dies in a freak accident involving chains, manacles, electric current, and yoga.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kendra on 1 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
I definitely understand the disappointment many of these reviewers felt. My thoughts? Lighten up!!! I found Garcia's book absolutely hilarious. Not at all like his Rex series (which I also loved), Finishing School is unlike most other novels.

I think the title and cover may have surprised the disappointed readers here. Finishing School is marketed with the Chick-Lit-type cover, yet it's nothing like Sophie Kinsella (who I adore). This is dark, but not American Psycho-dark (well, I shamefully appreciated that, too, for what it was at the time). Finishing School is black humor--but it's black humor laced with light humor.

The heroine of this book is missing her moral compass. Still, she's interesting, funny, and strange. She IS offensive, but the book is not. The book doesn't advocate doing the things Cassandra French does. It tells the story of someone who does do these things. In that sense, it's funny.
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Format: Paperback
I would rather judge a book by its author than its cover, which is a good thing with `Cassandra French's Finishing School for Boys' by Eric Garcia. Garcia is the writer behind the leftfield PI Rex series about a dinosaur detective! If I had not known this I would have been unlikely to have picked up this book with a title and cover similar to a lot of so called Chick Lit. `Cassandra' in many ways basks in the stereotypes of that genre, with its main characters all being intelligent, but neurotic, women. However, Garcia gives the book a far funnier and darker edge by making Cassandra the type of women who locks men up in her basement to teach them manners.

As a comedy novel `Cassandra' works because of Garcia's intelligent writing. The use of language is great and he creates a series of characters confident enough to be witty and intelligent. I did have some minor misgivings over Cassandra's personality as she does come across a little false. This is probably down to Eric Garcia being a man. Overall, he manages to create a series of rounded and compelling female characters, but they do still seem to be seen through a man's eye.

The story itself is more a series of mishaps and adventures than a full narrative, but it works really well. Like something from `Fawlty Towers' the book has Cassandra digging herself deeper and deeper into trouble as she tries to solves her various problems. With more intelligence and humour than your average book about a woman who locks men in her basement I would recommend this to anyone looking for a more quirky read.
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By Pexico on 10 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I gave this book as a present as I had thoroughly enjoyed reading it myself, so hopefully the new owner will agree
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 31 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Basements in Southern California? 28 Aug. 2004
By Mr. Joe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"The last fifteen years of failed dates, the boys with wandering hands, the boys whose hands didn't wander enough, the ones who left and the ones who wouldn't let me leave. They didn't deserve to walk into a room with Cassandra French on their arm."

Thus, with that dysfunctional experience with male-female relationships in her past, 29-year old Cassandra French, employed in the business office of a Los Angeles movie studio, proactively sets out to mold three young men with promise - her "boys" - into the New Age men they could be, replete with polished manners, polite language, sensitivity to a woman's needs, chivalry, and good fashion sense. Cassie has kept Owen, Alan and Daniel chained to cots in the basement of her Westwood home for months, alternating behavioral modification "lessons" with doses of calming morphine. (I've lived in SoCal for five decades, and have never been in a home with a basement. After the Cuban Missile Crisis, my Dad built a bomb shelter under our garage - but that doesn't count.)

CASSANDRA FRENCH'S FINISHING SCHOOL FOR BOYS is, believe it or not, a remarkably comedic novel. Author Eric Garcia pulls this off by making his heroine decidedly unhinged, but not cruel or even unkind. Indeed, she reads her charges bedtime stories, tucks them in at lights out, entertains them with games and a regular "movie night", keeps them properly fed, and fully intends to release them back into the world once they "graduate". But things begin to unravel when she "enrolls" in her school a famous actor who'd seduced and bedded her for uncommonly selfish and boorish reasons. Once under restraint and in her control, he subsequently dies in a freak accident involving chains, manacles, electric current, and yoga.

I haven't come across such an engaging female lead since Rebecca Bloomwood of Sophie Kinsella's SHOPAHOLIC series. Even when faced with the immediate problem of body disposal, in which caper she involves her best friend Claire, Cassie still has the presence of mind to notice the quality of Claire's cashmere sweater and footwear, and discuss corpse removal options over Amaretto and low-fat Fig Newtons.

I'm not awarding five stars because the ending seemed forced - perhaps not surprising considering the bizarre and implausible storyline that Garcia backed French into. But the plot is inventive and light, and would make the perfect vehicle for a Big Screen movie starring Sandra Bullock.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
ironically anti-chick lit romp 23 Jun. 2004
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Nearing thirty, Hollywood studio attorney Cassandra French constantly grades herself on six courses: Personality, Looks, Physical health, Mental health, Career, and Relationships. Her scores will vary in the first five courses depending on her situation, but she is a drop out when it comes to relationships as she has found men to be shallow and self indulged when they are sober; when males are drunk they become obnoxiously shallow and self indulged.
Tired of dating groping alcoholics, Cassandra has a good time attending a baseball game with Owen until the seventh inning stretch when beer consumption takes effect. Cassandra locks the drunken Owen in what she now calls her kennel. When he becomes an obedient canine, she brings him two companions, Alan and Daniel as students at her finishing school for changing slobbering male dogs into caring gentlemen. Movie star Jason Kelly takes Cassandra out, but she learns he is using her to sue her studio. Irate, Cassandra abducts him, but he is a moron unlike his three litter mates as he kills himself by electrocution.
Eric Garcia pays homage to the chick lit and hunk lit tales by skewing the sub-genre with this fabulous satire that stuns readers when they realize that this is not another sensitivity quest. Cassandra is amusing as she seems the prototype keeping up with the chick lit Jones until the audience realizes that her boys waiting for food in her basement kennel are not dogs, but human males. The support cast that include her "boys", her employer, and her two pals especially the yoga queen enable Cassandra to star as the queen of the ironically anti-chick lit romp.
Harriet Klausner
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A bizarro world take on chick lit 19 Jun. 2004
By doctor_beth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
On first glance, this novel appears to be yet another book of the "chick lit" genre: protagonast Cassandra French faces professional and personal woes in modern day LA. However, there are several surprises in store, with the first being that this book was actually written by a man. In his author's notes, Eric Garcia explains that he is "surrounded by women," suggesting why he may have written a novel which would appeal mostly to females. Yet males may be drawn into this book as well given the black comedic elements revealed within the first few pages. It seems that Cassie has become so fed up with the opposite sex that she decided to kidnap a few "boys" and train them to become men (hence the title). Strange? Definitely. Funny? Well, yes, that too.
The exploits of Cassie and her friends--street smart Claire and bimbo Lexi--are humorous enough, and the story is certainly engaging. However, the plot elements were a bit TOO bizarre for me at times, from Cassie injecting the boys with morphine to keep them docile to her diasterous involvement with a top movie star. And of course, there is the happy ending: although this is par for the course in most popular fiction, the sweetly perfect conclusion seemed rather out of place here. To be fair, I must admit that I have never been a fan of black comedy, which mostly likely tainted my view of this novel. If your tolerance for dark laughs is as low as mine is, you will probably find, as I did, that the more morbid aspects of this book detract from its humor.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Bizarre chick lit ... 9 Nov. 2004
By Antimony3 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am not sure how this book managed to get so many 5 star reviews. I typically reserve the 5 star rating for books I truly think are great. This was not one of those books (at best I found this book to be bizarre).

The story revolves around Cassie (who is not 29 by the way -- you other reviewers were not paying attention!!!) On the surface, Cassie is your typical single chick-lit heroine. She's single and looking for love. The book deviates from traditional chick-lit beyond this. It seems that Cassie is not satisfied by the quality of available men so she sets out to reform them. She is a domestic dominatrix of sorts. Basically, Cassie kidnaps 3 full grown men, locks them up in her basement and for the most part they seem grateful to her for it. At some point in the book she manages kidnap a fourth but he ends up dead and by that point her friends get dragged in to the mess. There is no way that anyone could ever find this plot to be believable. Some reviewers seem to like that about this book. I like to escape from reality just as much as the next gal but this was more of an escape into mediocrity.

Beyond the book review I will add that if you plan on reading this book anywhere outside the confines of your own home, you may want to invest in a book sock. Let's put it this way... there is a picture of a man licking a woman's boot on the front cover. Bring this into your workplace lunchroom and you will attract the office [...] for sure!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Turns chick lit on its head in a good way 14 Dec. 2005
By Jessica Lux - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
What we have here is chick lit (with a fabulously catchy title!), written by a male author, with a dose of American Psycho thrown in. The inside book flap compares this to a Hiaasen novel, a claim I am going to have to resoundly disagree with. This book is nowhere near the level of Hiassen's zany comic intrigue, but it is a darkly funny tale, even if it as some annoying plot holes.

One major plus for the book is that Cassandra is one of the most refreshing chick lit protagonists to hit the shelves. She's definitely sexy, but she's sensible and not afraid to open her mouth and get in trouble. So many other books have whiny and indecisive main characters. Cassandra knows when someone is going to bring her down, and she avoids pitfalls with a spunky attitude.

Does the plot make sense? Not really. Is the twist at the end even remotely plausible? No way! Did I laugh along the way at the situations? Yes. There's an absolutely brillant running gag with Cassandra's mother (who has been convicted of telephone fraud and is forbidden to use phones), along with some other darker comedy. Try this if you want something new on the chick lit front, but don't expect a masterful plot, just a fun romp.
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