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Stuck In Downward Dog

3.1  ·  Rating details ·  221 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
In this charming first novel, the dueling worlds of yoga and cosmetic enhancement, gourmet dinners and Frankenberry cereal, self-help books and too-helpful loved ones all conspire to nearly unravel 25-year-old Mara Brennan. Dumped by her boyfriend, stuck in a job she hates, and living in a basement apartment, Mara realizes it's time for an identity makeover. She devises th ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published July 28th 2008 by Key Porter Books, Fenn Publishing (first published July 28th 2007)
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I had a hard time rating this book. For the first one-half to two-thirds of it all I wanted to do was slap the main character Mara and yell: "Stop whining and DO SOMETHING!!!" so I would have originally given it two stars. She was so pathetic, and she took so much crap from virtually everyone in her life, I just couldn't stand her.

Truthfully, if I hadn't been asked to narrate this book as part of my volunteer work recording talking books for the visually impaired, I would probably not have even
I bought this book a few years ago, read it and promptly forgot about it, so when I was cleaning out my closet the other day I thought, why not give this another shot. I quickly remembered why I put it in my book box instead of displaying it proudly on my shelf. It's just not that good.

I have mixed emotions about so-called chick lit. I'm always drawn to the super fun covers and back flaps promising stories about female empowerment, romance or some combination of the two. However, I'm often disa
Oct 11, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
On occassion, a girl needs to read a little chick lit. That's the method to my madness in selecting this book.

Can you say Bridget Jones wannabe?

This is it....a Canadian Bridget.

Since I have very limited knowledge of Canada and a dear friend of mine recently moved there, I did enjoy the references to Toranto.

If you need a break, I would pick this one up. It's short, sweet and predictable.
Jul 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit, canadian, batpl
I gave this two stars because it wasn't so bad that I couldn't finish it... it was close though. The main character is an idiot! I understand trying to make her imperfect and more "real" but she was just retarded! If you're thinking of reading this one I'd suggest trying something else. There is way too much good chick lit out there to waste your time on this one.
Feb 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book started off well then as with pretty much all chcik lit for me I got somewhat annoyed by the main character. Not completely annoyed, just mildly. It was good though, I made it through, Easy. Light. Somewhat Predictable.
This was a nice little chick lit escape book. Perfect for reading by the pool!
Jess Van Dyne-Evans
Chick lit at its' smarmiest. Unlikeable characters and dumb internal dialogues.
Tiffany Shearer
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
I spent the first 2/3 of this book wanting to beat the main character senseless. The dinner party was hilarious and the ending leaves hope for anyone constantly running into failure.
Emily Ferko
While refreshing that Simmons concentrated her story on a woman who is not obsessed with finding the perfect man, "Stuck in Downward Dog" fell short and felt stuck in many aspects of its plot and character development. Protagonist Mara is 28 years old but never felt over 16 to me as she muddles her way through trying to emulate her "perfect" best friends' lives. Mara's thoughts are underdeveloped and shallow - much like the stereotypical characters that surround her. Gay best friend: check. Frie ...more
Lydia Laceby
Apr 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally Reviewed at Novel Escapes

I thoroughly enjoyed this Canadian Chick Lit novel which I found easy to read and laugh out loud funny. This book is chock full of Toronto details which I loved, especially having been to many of the areas she describes. I did get irritated though with the explanations of things Torontonian or Canadian which were put in parenthesis. Perhaps it was because I already knew these details, but I think it brought me out of the writing whereas if it was incorporated
Apr 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga-fiction

After reading the book, I can definitively say that the title is misleading. I enjoy yoga - practicing about it, reading about it, talking about it, learning about it, and so on. I enjoy reading light fiction where a central character has a relationship with yoga. Unfortunately, it's not until the last 25% of this book where the reader sees the main character grow as a result of her yoga practice.

I kept reading and reading this book and wondering where does yoga come in, other than a ment
Feb 11, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: girly-books
Definitely Stuck!

Chantel Simmons created a frustratingly insecure 28 year old when she thought about Mara. The main character in this story has no idea what she's doing with her life or where she wants it to go. She looks at her two overachieving best friends and tries to benchmark her life against theirs. She decides to make a list of all of their unique qualities that she wishes to achieve ( learn to cook, get a real job etc). Success but mostly failures follow as Mara attempts to get her lif
This was a typical chick-lit book: easy to read and predictable. I didn't love the main character, Mara Brennan, but didn't dislike her as much as the Shopaholic protagonist, so I guess that's something.

I was looking for a quick, light read and this fit the bill. I liked that it was set in Toronto, although I didn't like the early chapters when the author feels she has to explain about the various sites in Toronto. I mean, I don't know London or New York like the back of my hand, and authors do
Sep 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
Other than the two Bridget Jones books, I've never read any chick lit. My personal ban on the genre hasn't been purposeful — I've just never been interested. But I think I've found a new answer to the "What should I read?" question that always seems to be more difficult to solve when I'm stressed. Last week was super busy and stressful for me and I relaxed with Chantel's light and fun book. The main character Mara was incredibly lovable and I found her world to be a perfect escape from my troubl ...more
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this story. Endearing 20 something year old young woman trying to survive a dull job as a
receptionist for a cosmetic surgeon. She is trying to figure out what she should do with her life and tries to change her persona to be like her two best friends. Also she has been recently dumped by her boyfriend. She works on her relationship with her older, successful, beautiful, 'perfect' sister and with her parents.

She eventually figures out who she is and becomes comfortable in herself .
Jun 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think i read this book at the right time. I love yoga and the feeling that it gives me, the serenity that comes with releasing that every day built up stress. Anyway, the main character, Mara, is seeking that same sense of the next chapter that I am seeking. That sense of helplessness and anxiety to move forward from one thing to another. It was a feel good book that gave me that sense of peace that yoga does. Its a totally light read so don't expect to find the answer to all of life's deepest ...more
Fun read for chick lit but I'm getting tired of all the exaggeration and hyperbole of chick lit and I think that will be my downfall. What 28 year old girl thinks 'a prepared chicken' means its already cooked and ready to serve? At least it points out that just because you feel your friends & family can do no wrong and are perfect doesn't mean they are or that they think they are. Everyone has struggles some are just better at hiding them.
Aug 04, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
As a yogini, this book is wrong on so many levels. The fact that pose on the cover of the Audible version is Child's pose not Downward Dog should have been my 1st clue. The heroine did find some balance in the end. But that doesn't make up for the number of times she says 'get good at yoga;so I can be better than my friends; & be skinny' is repeated. Plus the whole cosmetic surgury/enhancement angle.
May 06, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked the story but it wasn't until nearly the end of the story that I reached that point. I found the main character to be boring and whiny for most of the book and there were very few parts that had my interest. It wasn't until well after page 145 that things caught my attention and things started to go at a better pace and Mara started to become a better character. Overall it was a story worth reading.
I'll admit I wasn't expecting much from this book, but for a trip across the country full of airports, airplanes and waiting, it was the perfect read. The yoga terminology was slightly off, and the author confuses Bikram Yoga and Moksha Yoga (a Moksha studio would have a set of 40 postures, not 26, that would be Bikram), but it was a nice entertaining read.
Miranda Bavdaz
I always enjoy a chick-lit book that doesn't have the girl chasing a boy because she needs to be married to have a good life. It was a fun read, nothing too deep to contemplate, and I was cheering for Mara to be happy. I enjoyed the Toronto references since I live in Toronto and know most of the places the author mentioned.
Jen Sully-Ferraro
I read this with my book club. The premise of the story is interesting but the characters are underdeveloped and come across as rather shallow. I did appreciate that this book focused on Mara's growth as a person rather than her just trying to find a new man in her life. As someone who lives in the GTA I appreciated the setting of the story and love how Simmons showcased Toronto.
Chloe French
Jan 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had me from the intro

I found this book to be wonderful. I enjoyed the pacing, and I couldn't seem to put it down. I also had a few minutes that it was a sort of self help guide for me. Situations in the main characters life echoed some of my own and her growth through the book gave me a bit of confidence about my situation as well.
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I needed a fluff book after finishing an over the top amazing book (A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry). This book was okay - I didnt expect much from it and it didnt deliver much.... even for fluff. The biggest redeeming factor is it was a quick read so I didnt waste too much time.
Oct 15, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Molly
It is a light read. The main character is in a rut & her life is a train wreck. She just got dumped by her BF & she's in a dead end job. The book is about finding your own life & not trying to fit into other people's idea of who you should be or what you should do.
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't hate it, but didn't love it either.
Josie Borg
Mar 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book by a Toronto author.
Isabelle Macnider
Jul 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Crapalicious....unless you're interested in cosmetic procedures and impressing people who are lame and superficial.
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Inane, poorly written and silly. The only reason I finished it was because it was kind of fun to follow a story that takes place in my city.
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Bestselling author of Stuck in Downward Dog and Love Struck.
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