Saturday, September 4, 2010

Julie's Review: Promises To Keep

Summary: Callie Perry is a happily married photographer with two wonderful kids, a lovable sister, Steffi, and a best friend, Lila. Problems are minor: Steffi can never settle down, Lila has finally found love but the guy has a nightmare of an ex, and Callie and Steffi's divorced parents haven't spoken in 30 years. But then Callie, a breast cancer survivor, is diagnosed with a rare and incurable complication of the disease. Suddenly realizing that she has only months to live, she begins the painful process of saying good-bye. While the subject matter is intense and personal, it's far from depressing; the characters are warm, funny and realistic. Green (The Beach House) manages to create an authentic tale of a woman who truly loves her life and family and is trying to do the right thing for them before she dies. While Green breaks up her chapters with recipes (presumably because Steffi is a cook), this peculiar modern conceit in women's literature feels like a misstep. Overall, Green once again delivers an enjoyable emotional story.

Review: Well people, Jane Green has knocked this one out of the park. I always find her books delightful, light read and while Promises to Keepis delightful and wonderful, it is anything but light. I think in part because writing this book for Jane was personal and also because it deals with a pretty heavy subject.

We are first introduced to Steffi and immediately I like her,even if she is a bit of a lost soul. It seems like she's finally taking charge of her life and well we don't even know alot about that life. She's a vegan chef who is head chef at a successful NYC restaurant. Through the book she makes positive changes in her life that bring her out of NYC and into the countryside. This provide Steffi a way to start her own business and become successful at it. It also removes her from the lifestyle she was used to living...rock star's girlfriend.

We then meet her sister Callie and while I liked Callie, I thought she was almost a bit too perfect. Let me say this, it made feel utterly inadequate as a mother and wife. She had no problem with her husband travelling and her being left to run her business and raise the kids. She was used to is and didn't mind it. This just rang a bit false to me but maybe that's because at my kids ages (5 and 2.5) I need my husband around or I'll go crazy. Also, the relationship with her huband Reece seemed to good to be true as well. They were even more in love than when they first got married? Really? What's the secret? :) Don't get me wrong I adore and love mine but life is so different than when we first got married, I don't have time to think if I love him more or less. I just love him. This is the part of the book that bothered me because if you are young and impressionable then this is what you think marriage is and well it isn't. Do we all hope/wish for this yes? Does it occur? I'm sure but it's not prevelant.

Lila, Callie's best friend is a major part of the book as well. I really liked Lila, a lot. She was real, down to earth and a strong, independent soul. She has finally found the love of her life at 42 and is now ready to go to the next step. She sticks with Callie through thick and thin and is there for her as she battles the disease. She's a wonderful "aunt" to Eliza and Jack.

The book is truly about family and friendships, about hard times and rallying around each other to get through them. It's about coming together to support those you love the most and need you the most. It's about finding out that Love really is a verb.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a great Labor Day read. You'll breeze through it and find yourself crying and laughing.

Swapping Lives and The Other Woman will always be two of my favorite from her. I will keep by her books because I know when I sit down to read them, in the end I will be satisfied.

Final Take: 4.25/5



Colleen September 4, 2010 at 5:16 PM  

After being disappointed with the last couple books by Green, I found myself surprised by this book. Like you said, it's anything but light.

But I found myself waiting for the anvil to fall because Callie's life was just too perfect. But I enjoyed the way Green handled Callie's illness. The family and her friends come together. I liked that her friend and sister find love and happiness later in life.

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