Jenny is in a bit of a rut, but oh my word, she is the most self-absorbed, miserable, judgemental so-and-so I’ve ever come across. I think that if I’d come face to face with her in the beginning of this book, I’d probably have wanted to slap her, or shake her very hard!! Yes, it’s true she’s been through a rough time. She’s lost her closest friend to cancer, and she’s had to close her business, after which all the ladies who worked with her, the only other women she considered her friends, all moved away, leaving Jenny ‘on her own’. She is desperate to find a new friend … someone who she can create a connection with a feel close to but everyone she meets is immediately written off as ‘not her type’.
Her lovely husband Lonny does his best. He’s a sunny type of chap and how he’s put up with his sour wife is beyond me. As their new neighbours move in, he wastes no time befriending Dawn, the rather overweight, loud tattooed ‘newlywed’ who already has a couple of kids who she’s usually yelling at and using foul language with it too! Jenny just cannot understand why Lonny’s taking the time to be so nice to her when it’s quite obvious that these aren’t the kind of people they should be associating with. And they’re a shocking example to her own three sons.
As Jenny miserably goes about her business as a carer for those who need assistance, she makes a feeble effort to draw herself out of what she knows is a deep depression. She visits her doctor, but immediately ignores any advice he gives her, telling herself that he doesn’t know what she’s going through or what he’s talking about. She decides to take a course at the community college, but then becomes a bit obsessed with someone who she meets when she goes to enrol, and it all becomes about making friends with this person who she basically makes up in her mind because she ‘looks’ like the ‘right sort’. Of course she has no clue what kind of person she really is.
I really was about to throw in the towel at one point, but then became engrossed in how annoying Jenny was! It was sort of like how you know you should unfriend someone on Facebook because they irritate the living heck out of you but you just can’t because you don’t want to miss watching the train wreck of all the stuff they keep posting, and if you unfriend them then you’ll miss out on all of that! So I kept reading, and I’m so pleased that I did! Admittedly I never fully warmed to Jenny herself, but there’s a fabulous cast of supporting characters who are amazing! Their issues are wide-ranging and there are a variety of very real and current social issues that are dealt with here: depression, abuse, social isolation, sustained, greener living and eating, environmentalism and tolerance. And the writing itself is really good. It flows well and makes for really enjoyable reading.
It’s a 4-star read that I’d recommend for those looking for something light and meaningful. It’s a perfect book club read, with lots of conversation starters. Thank you to Love Books Blog Tours.
Ruth Torjussen grew up in Stoke but now lives and works in Brighton as a Shared Lives Carer.
She is a passionate advocate of eating local food grown through regenerative farming as the answer to climate change.
Follow her on Twitter @RTorjussen
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