Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Review: Bella Summer Takes a Chance

By Gail Allison

Bella Summer (or B., as she’s known throughout the book) is a consultant with a side gig as a singer. She’s not really sure when she made the switch from being a singer whose day job was consultant, but she’s definitely sure that she’s not happy with the change. She’s not sure that she’s really happy with anything, to be honest. Sure, she’s content, but really REALLY happy? She doesn’t even realize she’s questioning so many parts of her life until one night when she’s watching a rom-com with Mattias, her boyfriend of ten years, and she decides to mimic the question that the heroine asks on the big screen: “Are you in love with me?”

Mattias insists that he loves B., but when she persists in asking if he’s IN love with her, they realize that their relationship isn’t built on that fizzing-tummy, can’t-live-without-you sort of feeling. B.’s married friend, Kat, insists that the best relationships are built on solid foundations of compatibility and friendship; the initial flash will always fizz away after awhile, and people in stable, long-term relationships all recognize that. Her single friend, Faith, agrees that the sparkle that B. is longing for is important, but Faith has never had a boyfriend long enough to see the sparkle fade. She’s always finding tiny, picky faults and breaking up with them faster than any of the girls can count. Clare is there for B. no matter what, but Clare’s not the best judge of a stable relationship. She has a weirdly monogamous relationship with “The Shag”, a guy that she’s agreed to not have a public relationship with, just really great sex whenever they feel like it. When B. decides to pull the plug on her and Mattias’ relationship and move out, she embarks on a journey of finding herself and learning what she really wants from life.

In Bella Summer Takes a Chance, Michele Gorman explores a gamut of relationships through the girls and their significant others, as well as through B.’s elderly friend Marjorie (finding love at the senior’s home has never been so adorable). She has crafted a tale of love lost, of new love, and even of realizing that you need to love and understand yourself before you can pass that along to anyone else. When B. starts really listening to Marjorie about what she’s experienced and learned throughout her life and her marriages, B. realizes that maybe she didn’t put the wrong foot forward by breaking up with Mattias. Maybe there is hope for that fizzing sparkly love still. A cute read that moves along nicely, I really enjoyed Bella Summer Takes a Chance.

I feel like this book got a bit confusing when B. and all her friends were hitting peak turning points in their lives at almost the same time. As well, I really didn’t like the fact that B. didn’t name the men in her life, so much as label them. After watching her date The Actor, The Musician, and The Dad, I was getting a little antsy to learn their real names. And speaking of real names, Bella is referred to as B. throughout the book. That started to grate a bit by about halfway into the book. After you get used to it, it’s not so bad (and MUCH better after she explains why she goes by her initial and not her entire name). I wish Ms. Gorman had chosen to slide that explanation in sooner in the novel, simply for my own peace of mind.

Bella Summer Takes a Chance is a charming piece of chick lit, exploring relationships and compromise a little more closely than I’d normally expect from a light read like this. I really liked the way Ms. Gorman brought different generations into it and used the vehicle of chick lit to dig a lot deeper into the differences in relationships and where we all stand. I’ll definitely be checking out more of her writing in the future.

Thanks to Michele Gorman for the book in exchange for an honest review.

1 comment:

penney said...

I'd like to read this it sounds good, thanks for the review on it