Heather's Reviews > The Four Ms. Bradwells

The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton
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's review
Apr 15, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: first-reads
Recommended for: Fans of "Law and Order: SVU" or people who like Latin phrases sprinkled throughout the story
Read from April 06 to 14, 2011

I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway. I had read two five-star books right before this one, so The Four Ms. Bradwells: A Novel had some major competition, and sadly, it didn't come out on top. Before I say anything further, I want to stress that my bad review of the book should not deter fans of the genre from reading it. I don't enjoy chick lit nearly as much as I did during my 20s. Meg Waite Clayton's version of chick lit is actually smart, and that's what inspired me to finish this novel. Clayton, even though she didn't wow me, isn't a bad writer. I just didn't like this story, and that's a surprise considering this novel has some of my favorite elements: four best friends, moments in academia, a story that takes place in flashbacks & present time, and one of my favorite plot elements – a visit to a college friend's hometown. Oh, there was even one more love of mine in this novel – an island in New England!

Mainly, I just don't think this book is for my generation, and the story wasn't interesting enough to transcend the age gap for me. There was a point when the author mentioned the girls were headed out on a road trip to reach their spring break destination, and the only music they had in the car was Carole King, which they played over & over. That was the moment when I realized that, contrary to the remark on the book's back cover, I did not "wish [I] could join the Bradwells for lunch." A major irritation of mine was that these women were supposed to have been best friends for thirty years, but there was a constant theme of jealousy and distrust between them. While I might be occasionally jealous that my friend's jeans fit her perfectly, I'm certainly not second-guessing everything I say in front of her due to a lack of trust.

One more frustration, and I will shut up. Be prepared for the narrative to repetitively reveal the reason for this novel's title. Did you ever witness laughter at an inside joke, and when that inside joke was explained, you still didn't think it was funny? Maybe the more you heard the inside joke, the less amusing it became. That's how I felt after hearing a "Ms. Bradwell" anecdote for the twentieth time. Next time I need my "four friends novel" fix, I'll revisit one I liked ten times better, Commencement.

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04/11/2011 page 188
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