Monday, April 7, 2008

Certain Girls: a review

When last we left Cannie Shapiro, she had a new baby, a new man in her life, and had just completed a novel. Twelve years later we rejoin her, her husband Peter, and her twelve-year-old daughter Joy. Unhappy with the publicity from her best-selling novel written in anger so many years ago, Cannie has spent the last decade secretly writing science fiction novels under a pseudonym. She has shielded much of her past from Joy, which only adds to the difficulties in their relationship in the months leading up to Joy's bat mitzvah as Joy becomes suspicious and begins investigating her family's past. IMeanwhile, Peter has decided that he wants to have a baby, sending Cannie on a search for a surrogate mother.

The perspective shifts between Cannie and Joy, allowing the reader the full story. We know what Cannie has been through, what has made her the way she is, but Joy sees only an unfashionable, overprotective mother with an embarrassingly large bosom. What she knows of Cannie's past she has gleaned from the pages of Big Girls Don't Cry, Cannie's novel full of embellished truths. Because of the addition of Joy's perspective, I was slightly less sympathetic to Cannie in this novel than when I read Good in Bed. But similarly, I was probably less sympathetic to Joy than I would have been without Cannie's perspective, so perhaps it evens out.

All in all a great book, which didn't surprise me as Jennifer Weiner's books are consistantly well-written. If you get a chance to hear her read, don't miss it! She's just as hilarious in person as she is on paper. And don't forget to check out her blog, A Moment of Jen.
I'm still confused about why the LJ review found necessary to mention the prevalence of the word "fuck" in this novel. It does pop up now and then (and I'm sure I noticed it more having read that review) but it's not on every page, or even in every chapter. I'm baffled.

No comments: