Tickle Me by Monica Bouvier is billed as a romance novel, but the reader may find it to be more of a coming-of-age tale than anything else. The focus of the story is Alice and her transformation from an insecure, gawky loner to a confident, engaged woman. The catalysis behind this transformation is an online affair, but Alice ultimately decides to change her own attitude.
Ever since her childhood, Alice felt ugly and unimportant. Coming from a dysfunctional family, she spent her time buried in tomes of Greek Mythology rather than dating or making friends. As a young adult, she had to care for her ailing parents, taking a job she did not want. At work, she seems to be the brunt of the joke, never getting credit for anything. She has a single friend in Patty, who is an outgoing, party animal.
Then Alice meets Erik through an online dating site and goes through a slow transformation. She starts being noticed at work for her efforts and begins making more friends and feeling more self-assured. The remainder of the novel follows Alice and Erik’s courtship and eventual meeting, as well as Patty’s reaction to the whole thing.
Tickle Me has a fantastic concept; the reader will enjoy watching Alice change and grow. It has the feel-good quality of shy girl meets attractive guy, who whisks her off her feet and they live happily ever after. However, some readers may find the book to be redundant in places, as emails between Alice and Erick fill up pages upon pages, most saying the same thing over and over. In order to get the meat of the story, the reader may find herself skipping Erik’s “stories” all together.
Length and redundancy aside, the reader will be surprised with the outcome of the novel. Bouvier writes an in-depth character study of individuals as well as relationships. She asks questions about love, reality, and self-image. The reader will find an interesting story, meant to explore life, with an unexpected ending and some twists and turns along the way.