With a cliched storyline, paper thin characters, and 342 pages that build neither interest nor suspense, 99 Percent Mine is your run-of-the-mill romance novel that may only serve as a time-pass if nothing else exists.
Setting and Characters
99 Percent Mine takes place in the modern day USA. In the first chapter we meet Darcy Barrett, the female protagonist and narrator of the story, in The Devil’s End Bar where she works as a bartender. Her stern expressions, aggressive body language, and pointed language help her establish a repulsive halo which wards off any un-welcome attention. She lives alone in her grandmother’s house who has passed away. Darcy struggles to cope with some troubling memories from the past and uses booze and candies to numb her feelings.
Her grandmother gave her house to Darcy and her twin brother Jamie, with the condition that they can only sell the house if they renovate it beforehand. Jamie, a business consulatant, lives out of the city and Darcy wishes to leave as soon as the house is sold.
The twins ask their adopted brother Tom Valeska to handle the construction and renovation work. This is his first project as an independent contractor, so he is both excited and anxious about it. Darcy has always had a strong crush on Tom and when she founds out that he is no longer engaged, she sees this as an opportunity to realize her fantasy. Tom does not want Darcy to interfere as he fears it will divert his focus but she manages to convince Tom to allow her to help her with the work. Soon Tom’s team arrives and Darcy starts helping Tom with the various responsibilties of being a project manager.
As Darcy and Tom navigate their work over several weeks, they find themselves getting closer to each other by the day. As their feelings for each other develop towards a climax, they must decide together how they would want their relationship to move forward.
The story does not involve complex themes. While Darcy and Tom struggle with figuring out their relationship, the storyline is linear and conventional, with their already existing feelings growing stronger with time.
One theme we can identify in the story is the character development of Darcy. Darcy has always had a crush on Tom but when he gets enagaged to Megan, Darcy uses candies and alcohol to numb her feelings. She is thus an example of people who are unable to deal with their feelings and ignore them while these feelings grow stronger and cause several problems. To avoid Tom, Darcy keeps traveling around the world to keep her mind busy. When she finds herself in Tom’s company, she sobers down and starts taking responsibility. So we can say that the story acknowledges the theme or idea that good company can help us become good. However, this is a faulty inference since her character development is caused by external factor (Tom) and not internal factors (her personality and values). However, this was the only theme I could identify.
In her interview, the author said that once she had started writing the book, she wanted to finish it and once you have read the book, you get that. She has just tried to finish the book. Apart from Tom and Darcy, we get to know nothing about the other characters in the novel. We don’t know what they do in their lives, what they think about the main characters and there is little interaction between characters. Even Darcy’s parents who mean a lot to the twins and Tom, are not even named! We just know they exist. All these characters do nothing to add anything to the story and I consider this lazy writing.
Apart from the small backstory about the main characters, we are not told a lot about them either, especially Darcy whose travels around the world are not even given a slight treatment. If you are looking for a novel with interesting charcaters, themes, and a storyline to root for, you will be disappointed. The only thing where 99 Percent Mine does a decent job is being readable. It is very easy to read the book within 2-3 days without any mental exertion.