Monday, November 22, 2010

Book Review: Friday Mornings at Nine

By Melissa Amster

Who can resist a story about three friends bonding over coffee and pastries every week and divulging secrets about their lives outside their marriage? I know I couldn't, which is why I knew I had to check out "Friday Mornings at Nine" by Marilyn Brant.

The story starts at a café in a Chicago suburb, where we meet Bridget, Jennifer and Tamara. Each woman is not happy with the state of her home life and is seeking happiness outside of it. They challenge each other to try extramarital affairs in hopes of finding clarity in their lives. Tamara's conquest is an attractive neighbor about 10 years her junior. Jennifer's is an ex-boyfriend, from whom she never received closure. Bridget's is a dentist at the practice where she is a receptionist, as he shares her affection for culinary delicacies. As the women pursue their "interests," other factors begin to complicate their lives (and marriages) and they start seeking clarity.

Since I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, I definitely like that this was the setting for the story. I also like how realistic the conversations were between the friends, as well as their interactions with other people in their lives. It explored their relationships with each other, their husbands, their children and the people that were complicating their lives, so to speak. Ms. Brant allows the reader to feel like they're directly observing each character's life, as if we were all in the same room. She also has terrific use of description, which carries this story along and adds to the realistic feel altogether.

However, the premise bothered me quite a bit. While it's not uncommon for people to have affairs these days (it's all over the media), the story seems to glorify the concept. It made me glad that there were consequences that each character had to face on some level or another, even if nothing actually happened. It saddened me that they were so dissatisfied with their lives that the first thing they would try to do is sleep with someone who wasn't their husband. Maybe that was the tactic Ms. Brant was going for, in hopes of teaching women that affairs aren't the answer to life's problems.

Overall, it was a well written story and had a "Desperate Housewives" feel. Considering that "Desperate Housewives" is one of my favorite shows on television, this is a good thing. I liked that the characters were at least honest with the reader and with themselves, even if they weren't honest with other people in the story all the time. I also liked that there were three different main characters to follow. It gave the story a lot of variety and it was interesting to compare and contrast their lives. I think Ms. Brant speaks for a lot of women and voices what some of them are afraid to say. I look forward to what she will come out with next.


carole said...

Hi! I'd like to read about the Chicagoland area since I use to live in Chicago,its been 18yrs. Also, I like reading about girlfiends and their stories. Sounds like a good book.

Laurie Smith said...

I loved According to Jane, and I can't wait to read Friday Mornings at Nine!!
Marilyn is such a sweet and bubbly person!
I had the chance to meet her at a event called Wine,Wit&Lit in St.Louis.