Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Julie's Review: Certain Girls

Summary: Following the story collection The Guy Not Taken, Weiner turns in a hilarious sequel to her 2001 bestselling first novel, Good in Bed, revisiting the memorable and feisty Candace Cannie Shapiro. Flashing forward 13 years, the novel follows Cannie as she navigates the adolescent rebellion of her about-to-be bat mitzvahed daughter, Joy, and juggles her writing career; her relationship with her physician husband, Peter Krushelevansky; her ongoing weight struggles; and the occasional impasse with Joy's biological father, Bruce Guberman. Joy, whose premature birth resulted in her wearing hearing aids, has her own amusing take on her mother's overinvolvement in her life as the novel, with some contrivance, alternates perspectives. As her bat mitzvah approaches, Joy tries to make contact with her long absent maternal grandfather and seeks more time with Bruce. In addition, unbeknownst to Joy, Peter has expressed a desire to have a baby with Cannie, which means looking for a surrogate mother. Throughout, Weiner offers her signature snappy observations: (good looks function as a get-out-of-everything-free card) and spot-on insights into human nature, with a few twists thrown in for good measure. She expends some energy getting readers up to speed on Good, but readers already involved with Cannie will enjoy this, despite Joy's equally strong voice. ~amazon.com/Publisher's Weekly

Review: Certain Girls: A Novel is the sequel to Good in Bed but you don't have to have read Good in Bed to love Certain Girls. Jennifer does a good job of explaining the back story without it taking over the new story and it is weaved well throughout the book. I love how it jumped forward 13 years in Cannie's life and where she's at, how she's changed. We meet Joy her 12 going on 13 year old daughter Joy who is the center of Cannie's world which isn't very good for their relationship. Joy struggles with the typical teenage issues of fitting in but because of her issues of being premature it's a little bit more of a struggle for her. Sure, I was vested in Cannie before this book but I found Joy to be true to a teenage girl and her struggles. Again, if you hadn't read Good in Bed no big deal because this story and these continuing characters stand on their on.

Being a mom of a 2 1/2 year old I fast forward my life and see these issues occurring in about 10 years and as a daughter I reflect back to my relationship with my mom regarding the crap I put her through. I think that most women will identify with books on different levels: mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend and woman.

There are a few twists and turns in the book that I didn't see coming and made the book that much better. The only thing that annoyed me a bit was that the younger sister Elle/Lucy was a bit like Maggie in In Her Shoes : A Novel. I know that older sisters tend to be type A(I'm an older sister so I speak from personal knowledge) but I don't think all younger sisters are screw ups, mine isn't. Maybe next time JW will write the younger sister an equal to the older one.

If you like good solid "chick lit" this book is for you. If you are a fan of books that deal with motherhood and those issues, you must read Little Earthquakes : A Novel (Washington Square Press).

I was sorry to see it end especially since I know it'll be another year or two for a new JW book.

Final Take: 5/5


heather (errantdreams) April 29, 2008 at 10:25 AM  

Sounds like an interesting series!

I'll be curious to see what you folks think of Cutler's 'the Secret Scroll.' I just finished it and, umm, wasn't too fond of it.

Julie P. May 9, 2008 at 10:49 PM  

Here's a link to my review:


Anonymous ,  June 10, 2008 at 7:07 AM  

YOu give very good reviews - I like how you weave your personal experiences and book expectations in. I will put this on my list and also Little Earthquakes. Thank you, Care

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