I have a weakness for Russell Smith novels. It's funny because, in a lot of ways, Mr. Smith writes books I feel I shouldn't like. They are always full of characters who are big on flaws but short on redeeming qualities. Add to this the fact that Smith sometime writes like a caricature of the knowing hipster - the one who knows all the right bars and all the right people and all the reasons why most people don't measure up to some invisible yardstick of the trendy - and you have a writer who should be avoided.
Only it doesn't work out that way. I buy his books as soon as they come out and tear through them. While I rarely wind up liking the characters, the stories pull me in and the details, those precious details, begin to ring true. What I like most about his work is that he is a Toronto writer through and through. It's hard to imagine his stories and characters without Toronto looming in the background. Each book offers me a chance to look at the city in a way that is both completely valid and yet totally different from what I normally see.
That's why I picked up Girl Crazy as soon as I saw it in a bookstore.
Basically, the story goes like this - Guy falls for girl. Girl comes from wrong side of tracks (if that's possible anymore). Guy becomes obsessed. Sex. Drugs. Some danger. Some confusion. Some bad decisions. That's about it.
Oh yeah. The guy isn't just obsessed with the girl. He seems to be obsessed with women in general, hence the book title. Don't worry. It's not as creepy as it sounds.
Of course, it's the details that make the story and Smith scores big. I really don't want to give you more information than that loose outline because I wouldn't want to ruin any part of what is a very good book. There were times when I thought he might have gone too far with things, might have slipped from character to caricature, but he manages to walk the tightrope yet again.