Big thanks to NetGalley for my advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
Chick lit really isn’t my thing. This preface should be seen as a lens through which to read the following comments. Fans of Ms Macomber, please don’t hate me.
I was browsing NetGalley one day, feeling rather blue from my previous read, the bulk of which I read with misty eyes and thumping heart. I needed the literary equivalent of a bottle of wine and a foot rub.
The pitch promised a ‘powerful and uplifting novel’ from a bestselling author I’d never heard of. The story of Leanne and daughter-in-law Nichole would apparently make me feel empowered and prove the power of love, friendship, and New York Times best-seller lists.
Once upon a time, Nichole was married to Leanne’s son, Jake, who is a lying cheat just like his father. At some point prior to the first page of A Girl’s Guide to Moving On, Leanne and Nichole both divorced their horrible husbands, moved into snazzy little flats across the hall from each other, and devised rules and plans to help them regain their life and their happiness.
They both meet new men. Complications ensue. The exes are horrid. Time goes on and the exes are less horrid. The new men think their women don’t love them. It rains. They all kiss and make up. The end.
Debbie Macomber seemed to be writing by numbers. There was a lack of characterisation and any personal development seemed beyond plausibility. For example, Jake receives a talking to by Nichole’s new burly truck driver boyfriend and not only does Jake accept Rocco’s views, but also immediately changes his mind, his ways, and his personal hero.
Initially I was convinced the author needed to take herself to a workshop on showing not telling but, to her credit, the writing seemed to improve as the story advanced and I did feel slightly empathic for the plight mirrored in the lives of both Nicole and Leanne.
A Girl’s Guide to Moving On is beige and mildly pleasant; it is so overtly predictable that I regressed to the days when I nicked my mums Mills & Boon just to read the sexy bits. But even the raunchy scenes were MIA here, leaving me high and dry and unrewarded for ploughing through all that sporadic pashing.
Perhaps I’m being unfair – I’d just finished A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and with my heart in tatters, I sought solace in something lighter. Be careful what you wish for – this was so light, its flimsy words practically blew off the page in wake of my exasperated sigh.
‘It isn’t only that you’re good for my dad,’ Kaylene said, growing thoughtful. ‘You’re good for me, too. You’re teaching me how to be a woman.’
I mean, really?
Sorry Debs, I didn’t buy it. I’ve heard some of your other work is fabulous in the chick lit world but this was far from my cup of tea.