Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Average Smashwords Rating: 5 stars
My Rating: 1 star
The feud started on the first day of kindergarten when Ethan put dirt in Arin’s hair. It followed them all the way through school, even through college. But when Ethan and Arin get jobs at an advertising firm working together– as the “Dream Team”– it looks like they finally have to work together. With the two of them sharing the same space so close, they might realize that what they feel for each other isn’t hate, but sexual tension.
This is simply supposed to be a cute story about two kids growing up hating each other before realizing they liked each other, but it has an unintentional darker side to it. Most of the pranks the two kids played on each other were harmless and funny. Like the dirt put in Arin’s hair, or Arin putting gum in Ethan’s hair.
The pranks they pulled in college were even relatively funny and harmless. Arin dyed Ethan’s clothes pink to get back at him for switching out her backpack with one full of condoms and pregnancy tests.
But a few of the pranks were not funny or harmless, and it’s offensive the author tried to pass them off as such.
Ethan hit Arin with a chair, hard enough to bruise. He also snapped her bra strap. These aren’t funny skirmishes in a cute childhood feud. This is physical and sexual abuse and they have no place in what’s supposed to be a light and funny story, especially from the so-called love interest.
Not that Arin isn’t without her share of not-funny pranks as well. Pantsing Ethan is also wrong, and telling Millie, an awkward teenager that Ethan liked her just to mess with him is flat-out bullying. It’s really hard to care about either of the main characters when they are bullies pretending to be locked in a cute, flitatious war.
Maybe these acts would have been almost acceptable if the characters admitted that they took things too far. But no. The entire story basically said this was okay, and even funny.
That’s not the only thing wrong with this story, though. Arin’s and Ethan’s love relationship feels really forced, probably because they don’t do anything nice to each other, or show any feelings at all except for mutual loathing. They feel more like brother and sister at best, and distant ones at that.
Also, my suspension of disbelief was severely stretched when not only were they going into the same job field (despite being “totally different” from each other) but they also ended up working as the “dream team” with dream jobs. Neither of them even have Bachelor degrees at this point! But their boss decides that they’re geniuses who will make him millions? Yeah. Sure.
As a college student facing a crap job market, the ease of them getting their dream jobs is incredibly annoying. Either they should be miserable interns, or a lot more experienced than AS holders looking for their first jobs. That’s more realistic and doesn’t affect the story at all.
On top of all my issues with the plot, there’s also the problems with Grotewohl’s storytelling capability. Sure this story was funny at times and I wasn’t bored, but there was so much summarizing! We saw barely any dialog, description, or action from Arin and Ethan, and certainly nothing that made me actually care about them at all. All we saw was them arguing. All. The. Time.
The Compromise is simply an unmemorable short story about two toxic people who bring out the worst in each other. I suggest you look elsewhere for your romance fix.