This started off as a promising, cute, light-hearted, charming fairy tale about an unhappy 75-year-old woman is wishes, on her 75th birthday candles,This started off as a promising, cute, light-hearted, charming fairy tale about an unhappy 75-year-old woman is wishes, on her 75th birthday candles, to be 29 again for a day. The first few pages, and chapters, were compelling enough, and kind of sweet (but also super sappy). Ellie Jerome, turning 75, is jealous of her young, beautiful granddaughter, Lucy. In spite of admitting her life up to this point wasn't really bad—her husband, Howard, while not very attractive, was a good provider for her and her daughter Barbara. They took lavish trips to Europe, lived in a big, well-manicured house, and she really wanted for nothing. But after Howard dies of a heart attack while they are on vacation together, Ellie starts to re-evaluate her life thus far and realizes she has several regrets.
She wishes that she hadn't married Howard just because he was the first to propose to her. She wishes she hadn't married so young (at 19) and she wishes she hadn't had her daughter so young, before she really got to live her life and get to know herself. She wishes she would have learned to do something, some skill that could have earned her money, taken a course or had a job of her own. She wishes she could have learned more about taking care of things (when Howard dies suddenly, she has to call Barbara to make arrangements to have the body sent home and for the funeral; and when her water heater leaks, and causes her basement to flood, she has to again call Barbara to help her). She also wishes she wouldn't have spent time sunbathing without any sunscreen, or smoked.
So here's this great potential for the plot to be excellent, even more so when Ellie wakes up after her birthday party and discovers her new bod. But pretty much, for me at least, the story started to fall apart after Ellie tells Lucy her secret, and Ellie's best friend Frida, and Barbara try to get involved. The story tries to be funny but ends up cliche, stereotypical and unfunny. And the characters spend too much time shouting (literally, they can't just speak, or say, they have to "shout", very off-putting) and behaving like vain supermodels, oogling their own bodies and puckering their lips to a mirror. I gave up during the chapter in Frida's point of view, because I literally could not take another second of reading about Barbara's nonsense. I skimmed a few chapters, wondering if I was just hitting a rough patch of the plot, and came to Lucy (who's a fashion designer) trying to negotiate a good commission for a line of her dresses at some new store. Ellie is with her, and thinks that the owner is trying to low ball Lucy, so she demands Lucy get a 75% commission. Then Lucy actually SHOUTS at Ellie, right in front of this owner. It was so unbelievable. Lucy is 26, and has been a designer for about 2 years (after college, she apparently worked for another well-known designer), so you would think she would know not to SHOUT in front of someone she's trying to sell her clothing too. So after this I figured the story was just going to get more ridiculous and I gave it up.
The other thing that bothered me, though I really was trying to suspend my disbelief, was that Ellie's voice overall didn't really come off as that of a 75-year-old woman. The author tries, with some cliched language, and having Ellie apparently not know what a cell phone is, but it was a hard sell. I kept telling myself, "this is just a fun book, so a little thing like this shouldn't be a big deal", but I guess it was.
Not sure what it is about chick-lit, but I have such a hard time finding the ones that are light, fun, well-written, with a decent plot, with characters that can be identified with on some level. Maybe, much like the romance genre, the chick-lit genre is just not for me. ...more
So, hell. I'm reading a romance novel. Like erotica romance, on purpose. This is really mainly because it's actually written by Carol Goodman, and becSo, hell. I'm reading a romance novel. Like erotica romance, on purpose. This is really mainly because it's actually written by Carol Goodman, and because I really despised her latest mystery, "River Road", and felt like I needed to give another one of her books a chance—so back to hell. The erotica romance novel. I'm giving it a try.
Update Sept. 7, 2016. I just can't keep reading this. Trying to read romance, let alone erotic romance, seriously, is unbelievably difficult for me. Also difficult: Letting the narrator, Callie, tell the reader that the man in her dreams makes love to her when it's so obvious he just keeps raping her, it just disgusts me. How can I keep reading a story with a character who is so self unaware, who doesn't know she's a victim? Who kind of likes to be victimized?
Two stars because the writing is actually pretty decent, lush and descriptive, and the story is compelling, but I just really can't keep with it. Romances, no. I can't do them. Back to the library with you!...more