Thursday, October 17, 2013

Once More with Feeling

1996, possibly first edition, from Ballantine
Cynthia Blair
Once More with Feeling
Original price $5.99, purchase price 49 cents
Very worn paperback

This is one of my favorite chick-lit novels, although admittedly it's not a genre I've read much of.  There are two things I particularly like about it.  One, that it's about a woman, Laura, who goes through a divorce and gains both self-esteem and a nice new boyfriend (no career change, but she's happy as a children's author), so it's not just a romance, and arguably her relationships with best friends Claire and Julie are much more important than her romance with Cam (who doesn't even show up till about two-thirds of the way into the book).  And two, I like all the topical references.  That many of them are now dated adds to the charm.  (The funniest was about a jigsaw puzzle with Snoopy and Woodstock having a "meaningful dialogue," and it's not like that was '90s-specific, compared to the mentions of TMNT.)  Blair is very witty, yet she has enough realism that we feel for what Laura's going through.

That said, Laura was a bit Yuppie for my tastes, too worried about things being tacky, from her brother-in-law's contributions to her wedding (told in flashback) to the suggestive art at an Indian restaurant.  Also, Cam was too much Mr. Perfect, like when he helps her move and then has her rest while he unpacks boxes and orders Chinese.  (At least he didn't cook!)  I thought it was interesting that her friends' romances are more flawed, although Claire is the one who gets married in the last chapter.  Her eight-year-old son's adjustment to the divorce was glossed over a bit.  Yes, it's mentioned a few times but not enough.

Overall, I enjoy the book enough that for years I've been hoping to run across another of Blair's books.  It doesn't help that, one, she has a forgettable name, and two, her titles are forgettable.  (There's not even a title-drop in this one, so I never remember what it's called, and her most famous book is apparently Temptation, yawn.)

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