I really wanted to like this book, but ultimately, it fell short of the mark for me. The author did a few things very well. However, this book was just not for me.
I was led to believe that this was a holiday romcom, but this marketing is a bit misleading. It has romance, yes, and it had a lot of humorous lines and situations, but the focus of the story wasn’t romance so much as it was about family dynamics and understanding that people aren’t always as together as they seem.
This book seeks to shine a light on women who history would eschew as undesirable or "other" for various reason and lets their story be told with plausible insights into what was really going on. The authors clearly did their research and are very knowledgeable about that which they speak and present these women's stories in a thought-provoking, insightful, and sometimes eerie way.
The first thing that struck me immediately is the writing itself. It was quick, clever and downright hilarious. The back and forth banter often reminded me of Gilmore Girls, and the small town that the book takes place in had a total Stars Hollow vibe to it, even down to the town hall meeting that Nora attended for pure entertainment purposes just like Lorelei. I was hooked!
I almost didn't read this book. I wasn't really looking forward to it. After reading Bear Town about a year ago, which I didn't care for, I was afraid that this book wouldn't live up to the hype. But start it I did, and I'm glad for it.
The author's writing was probably the best part of the book. Her way with words is admirable, and I could almost see, hear and smell the area of Brittany through her words. She also was, at times, very prosaic, which I appreciate as well. Her writing really brought the scene to life, but that's probably the only redeeming feature of this book.
With wit, grit, and heart, we watch as this teen mom and culinary magician navigates high school, motherhood, and learns to trust in herself enough to go after what she wants.
Just like GWYF, there is a lot of wisdom and actionable advice in this book, told in the same no-nonsense, listen-up girlfriend kind of way. This time around, I was so much more prepared for the book and I actually treated this book like I would a college course book, taking copious notes, marking down specific passages that spoke to me, and thinking about how I could actionably apply her advice to my own life.
As a book-lover, I also loved all the references to books and titles, and all the talk about books. I could relate to that on so many levels. Having worked at a bookstore many years in my teens and early twenties, I have a real fondness for the written word and the way a story can completely transport you from the real world to a world of the author's imagining. And books have power: to heal, to help, to encourage, to make us feel less alone. All of that came through loud and clear in this novel.
If you knew the date you were going to die, how would that inform your life choices? And would you die that day because of those life choices, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy, or would you have died that day regardless?