It's that time again....
Time to talk about BOOKS because it's BOOK CLUB FRIDAY!
This week, I'm reviewing this...
* jazz hands *
Venus Gilroy is everything the flap claims she is: sexy, funny and badly-behaved, which pretty much made me want to be her friend right away. She’s not that badly-behaved (really) but more like a wonderfully authentic twenty-five year old gal who has no idea what she wants or how to get it. I love mid-twenties characters and it’s been a while since I’ve read one that I could really identify with.
Starting in Portland, Venus finds herself divorced for the third time in her short romantic career. Her two dads schlep her to New York City, where she ends up finding a job as an assistant to sex author, Susanna.
Yes, you read that right – this book has TWO dads PLUS a sex writer! Her non-biological dad refers to himself as her "faux pa," which is pretty much one of the greatest descriptions of a step-parent…well…ever.
Susanna is a believable demanding boss, with just enough vulnerability to not want to punch her in the throat. Obviously, she’s a complete nightmare to work for and orders Venus around, but Venus handles herself well and has a great sense of humour about it.
The two male characters, one in his twenties and one in his late forties, make for a delightful mix of lustful images. On one side, there’s a struggling-writer-hottie and on the other, a silver fox photographer. As much as they were present throughout the story, the focus was on how they made Venus feel. This book isn't about getting a man. I love chick lit, but find that plots purely driven by the MC's fear of being alone fall somewhat flat. That isn’t the case here. At all.
Oh, and did I mention that Venus "falls in love with the person" rather than just men? Hold onto your suspenders ladies, there’s more than a little bisexuality in this novel. Venus’ mother included, too.
Did your brain just explode?
Mine did. With sheer delight.
There's been quite the debate happening on Twitter these last few days, regarding the acceptance of gay characters in YA books, and I think that a lot of the arguments can be applied to chick lit as well. I’ve only seen bisexuality/homosexuality in chick lit novels presented in a negative "my boyfriend left me for another guy" way, which sucks, and when there is a gay character, they're most often flamboyant men. In Memoirs Are Made of This, though, there are a few gay relationships and they're written just like ‘normal’ relationships: loving, complicated, sometimes miserable and exciting.
Whether you like reading about same-sex relationships or not, there’s no denying that Swan Adamson created characters who leave you wanting to throw a swanky party. In fact, there were so many mentions of canapés that I could almost taste a cheese puff. There’s a great balance of backstory and dialogue with virtually no lulls. I was enthralled as I followed Venus on her many errands around the streets of NYC and fell further in love with her when she was ultimately forced to confront herself...as much as a twenty-five year old could, of course.
I laughed out-loud more times than I can count.
The only thing that irked me was the British spelling (realise vs. realize, in the flap description, for instance). The publisher is from the United Kingdom, so that explains it…kind of…but it was distracting because the novel’s set in the United States. Whenever I saw the British spelling of something, suddenly the characters were speaking with an accent. Which they don't have. I'm sure you can see how distracting that could be.
So, all-in-all, I give ole Swan Adamson a high five for this one. I have a sneaking suspicion that Swan is a dude as there’s virtually nothing online about him/her. I remember reading an interview with J.K. Rowling about how using her initials were an attempt to entice younger male readers. A guy writing chick lit would probably produce the same reaction, so I tip my fedora to Swan Adamson because if he IS a he, then he’s basically the greatest writer of all-time.
For reals. There’s no way my hubby or his buddies would be able to write such a fantastic female character.
Nope. Not a chance.