Book Reviews: A Joan Jett Wannabe and a Father’s Legacy

Reviews for Chick Lit Central

Total Eclipse of the Harriet, by Fiona Jane Collins

Patti reminds me a lot of Joan Jett. She’s the 80’s rock star I conjure up in my mind when I picture Patti, and I can only imagine how exciting it would be to meet such an influential musician. A bonafide rock star! It wasn’t difficult to see that Harriet, someone who is very scheduled and detailed, careful and bordering on the edge of obsessive compulsive, would completely have her life turned upside down by Patti. The question is, is it for the better?

In an Odd Couple paradigm, these two women are complete opposites, yet in strange ways they rely on one another to see a different point of view. While Harriet sheds her black stretch pants and tunic tops, exchanging them for faux leather pants and revealing cleavage-baring outfits, Patti is thrust into the world of play dates and tea time with girlfriends. And while Harriet thought for sure she’d remain single for the rest of her life while she pines for the one who got away (in reality, left her), she discovers there’s still a little life left in that heart of hers. Patti learns what real friendship is all about, and interestingly enough, it has nothing to do with Patti. The world does not revolve around her!

I can relate to Harriet’s experiences. I’m a mom, and many nights I’m down for the count soon after my boys are, surrounded by Legos and Minecraft memorabilia. That’s a hot night for me. Someone like Patti could seriously rock my comfort zone. There’s real excitement to be had when you start living a life you’re not used to, a crazy and spontaneous roller coaster ride that is exhilarating and a little bit dangerous! I had a great time reading Total Eclipse of the Harriet, and highly recommend it to anyone ready to take a walk on the wild side!

The Tender Bonds, by Ute Carbone

I’m a big fan of Ute Carbone. I very much enjoyed Confessions of the Sausage Queen, so it was a no brainer when I was asked to review The Tender Bonds. I had no idea, however, how much this book would strike a chord within me, opening up an array of emotions I didn’t think I’d encounter. For Patty, most of her life has been spent fatherless. She’d been told he wasn’t alive, and it’s not until her aunt passes away that the truth is revealed. In my own life, I’ve spent the last decade dealing with negative family issues, and I’ve often asked myself, “Will you ever be able to forgive?”

After discovering that her father is indeed alive, Patty decides to do all she can to find him. During her search, she discovers a lot more than she could have ever bargained for, not only externally but internally as well. Nothing is what she’d expected from the man who used to call her Star Shine when she was a kid. I think when we place high hopes on our expectations and they fall way shorter than we’d ever imagined, it will forever change a person, and Patty is forever changed. Is it what she wants?

Where Confessions tickled my funny bone, Tender really got to the root of me, if that makes sense. It grabbed on and stirred up a lot of feelings that I’ve worked hard at suppressing, feelings I’ve wanted to hide from others, particularly myself. I feel silly even admitting to that, but it’s the truth. It was thought-provoking and it stays with you, even after you’ve read the last page. I’ve often heard how forgiveness can release the soul. I’m not quite there yet in my own life, yet reading Tender has certainly inspired me to look at things from a different perspective, and possibly give forgiveness a chance.

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