Tuesday, May 24, 2011
She's thirty-nine. A suburban mom who stopped working after she had her kids. She's somewhat overweight. Other people's lives seem glam and fab compared to hers. She likes making lists, and she's thinking about making some major changes to her life before she turns forty.
It's almost as if author Kaira Rouda was talking about me, not Kelly Johnson, the main character of her latest novel, Here, Home, Hope. I received an advance copy of the book via the One2One Network, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
About the book:
Kelly Johnson becomes restless in her thirty-ninth year. An appetite for more forces her to take stock of her middling middle-American existence and her neighbors' seemingly perfect lives. Her marriage to a successful attorney has settled into a comfortable routine, and being the mother of two adorable sons has been rewarding. But Kelly's own passions lie wasted. She eyes with envy the lives of her two best friends, Kathryn and Charlotte, both beautiful, successful businesswomen who seem to have it all. Kelly takes charge of her life, devising a midlife makeover plan. From page one, Kelly's witty reflections, self-deprecating humor, and clever tactics in executing that plan--she places Post-it notes all over her house and car--will have readers laughing out loud. The next instant, however, they might rant right along with Kelly as her commitment to a sullen, anorexic teenager left on her doorstep tries her patience or as she deflects the boozy advances of a divorced neighbor. Readers will need to keep the tissue box handy, too, as Kelly repairs the damage she inflicted on a high school friend; realizes how deeply her husband, Patrick, understands and loves her; and ultimately grows into a woman empowered by her own blend of home and career.
I'm a big sucker for happy endings, so I was pleased that Kelly was able to get her life together, help her friend's teenage daughter work through some serious issues, and (spoiler alert!) starts her own home staging business. As I said, the similarities between Kelly and me almost guarantee that I'd be able to relate to her character and her situation. Just like Kelly, I have my own pre-40 to-do list, and I'm feeling empowered just having it. Even better, I can totally understand the thrill of finding a job I love.
I have to admit, there are some parts of the book I didn't like. I can't relate to being dissatisfied with your lot in life if you are lucky enough to afford trips to Italy, $89 tee shirts and $295 hair highlights. They must be pretty well off if her son can call her the day before his sleep away summer camp ends and ask if he can stay an extra week! I find it hard to believe that Kelly made $15 grand on her very first job, and that she lost a whole bunch of weight with hardly any effort at all, after years of gaining weight. But on the whole, it's a great read, and Kelly, for all her faults, is an inspiration for anyone, aged thirty-nine or not, who wants to start making some positive changes in her own life.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of the book, but have not been paid to review it or give my opinions. Book synopsis was taken from Amazon.com and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.