Susan's Reviews > A Total Waste of Makeup

A Total Waste of Makeup by Kim Gruenenfelder
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Jun 15, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: chick-lit-god-help-me

I came upon this book accidentally, having bumped into the author at a Border's book signing. I was lured in with the phrase "Stephanie Plum." Okay, I thought, this needs to be seen because one does not take the name of Plum in vain.

Man, am I glad I did.

Kim Gruenenfelder has created really good chick lit.

Seriously.

Although popular, Bridget Jones and Rebecca Bloomwood (Shopaholic) are a couple of neurotic nitwits and popular culture being oriented on the "monkey see, monkey do" model, so-called chick lit is filled with clones of these two-bit Cinderellas pining for a rescue and filling the time with self-obsession. (Hey, girls, wanna guess why he's not showing up?)

Charlie Edwards has a brain and uses it. She makes a few comment about her weight compared to those around her (she's a movie star's assistant, so the Size Two Zoo figures prominently in the calculation. And Kim, that's MY phrase!). Her younger sister is getting married in 3 weeks, a situation that does tend to weigh on the mind of an unmarried sibling. And Charlie does investigate the possibilities of a couple or three potential men; sometimes comically, sometimes he's the prototypical lying dog and sometimes, it'll break your heart.

One of the things that really caught my attention was how great the secondary characters were, including the whacko movie star boss. I didn't find any cardboard cutouts (well, okay, the grandparents were two-dimensional, but fun). These were complex characters with good and bad characteristics, like the television version of "Sex and the City". I was braced for Drew Stanton to remain a total fruitcake, but he had moments of genuine caring for those around him that mitigated his flakiness (some of which includes an elephant. Just buy the book). I adored Charlie's great grandmother Mauwv. 95 years old and taking no prisoners.

A note on the blurb compares Charlie to Stephanie Plum, as I mentioned. In my mind, she skewed more towards Cannie Shapiro and Jennifer Weiner's characters; sane people surrounded by lunatics. Charlie is a great connoisseur of Merlot and like one of the better ones, she contains notes of Cannie, certain Plummy depths and a hint of Elizabeth Bennett (the first chick lit heroine). I didn't read the jacket for "Misery Loves Cabernet" (is that a great title or what?), but if Charlie's on board, then so am I. And if Charlie's not there, I'm sure it'll still be a great read.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
June 14, 2009 – Finished Reading
June 15, 2009 – Shelved
June 15, 2009 – Shelved as: chick-lit-god-help-me

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