Saturday, June 21, 2008

"Certain Girls," by Jennifer Weiner



A follow-up to the smash hit Good in Bed, Certain Girls brings back Cannie Shapiro years later. Her mother is out of the closet, her daughter Joy is about to have a bat mitzvah, husband Peter is a successful diet doctor, sister Elle still begs for money, and ex Bruce is still smarting from Cannie's vicious "fictionalized" portrayal of him in her debut novel. Though to be fair, he started it by chronicling their sex life in a national magazine.

So Girls is the dual story of Cannie and Joy. Cannie struggles with her daughter's growing problems with grades and a negative attitude, along with Peter's desire to have another baby. Unfortunately, due to complications with Joy's birth, Cannie'd had a hysterectomy, which leaves the couple looking for a surrogate.

Joy is thirteen, self-absorbed, hateful to her mother, and completely unlikeable. While I can understand her need to find out more about the book her mother had written so many years ago, especially since it's so based on reality, Joy is just a brat. The things she thinks about her mother made me want to slap her. She begins acting out: shoplifting, lying, sneaking out of state to a party. Then she steals her mother's credit card, books a flight and fancy hotel, along with a car and driver, and hops a plane to California to find her grandfather, certain that her mother, aunt, uncle, and grandmother have all been terribly wrong about what a jerk the guy is. Oh, shocker, she finds out he is a jerk. But what kind of punishment does Joy get for this escapade? She gets the extremely expensive dress that she'd been whining about getting for her bat mitzvah. And grounded for a month. Boo hoo.

As if this wasn't annoying enough, the best character gets killed off. I'm so sick of writers using this as a plot point to finish off a book. It's unnecessary, cruel to the readers, and just stinks of manipulation.

2 stars

4 comments:

i i eee said...

Nobody's supposed to die in chick lit. Someone might already be dead, or maybe the main character's cat dies, but that's as dead as it gets.

Weiner probably believes she writes "realistic" stories, but nope, it's all chick lit sweetheart. So don't stray from the formula.

Or do stray, because I could really care less.

AzĂșcar said...

DUDE, don't TELL me the best dies! I mean, there are few enough surprises.

BTW, is Good in Bed any good? I've thought about picking it up.

April said...

Zuc, I liked "Good in Bed," but it's been years since I read it. A good beach read, though.

kristenlibrarian said...

Listened to this book on tape. Stunk a lot. Super lame. Boo.