Monday, November 14, 2022

Book Review: None of This Would Have Happened if Prince Were Still Alive

By Jami Denison

While hurricane season is officially June first through November thirtieth, those of us who live near the water know the biggest danger is late August through mid-September. Since I live 10 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, at the end of every summer I’m drawn to hurricane stories like manatees are drawn to warm water. And while None of This Would Have Happened if Prince Were Alive is a comedy, the tension from the storms is always very real.

Savannah, Georgia author Carolyn Prusa’s debut novel features graphic designer Ramona, who’s juggling two kids (one resisting potty training), a demanding boss, a minivan on its last legs, and a stubborn mother. With a Category Four hurricane bearing down, all Ramona wants to do is grab her family and leave town. But when she comes home early, she catches her husband with the mother of her son’s playmate. And the woman is drinking her last coconut La Croix! Now Ramona has to handle all the storm preparations by herself. Dealing with her personal storms as well as the big one, Ramona remembers the days when everything was easier and Prince was the soundtrack to her life. Now he’s dead and nothing has been right since.

I definitely would not have Ramona’s sense of humor if I had to deal with everything on her plate, even without the hurricane. She’s a great character who has empathy for everyone, even the woman her husband cheated with. Prusa does a masterful job of balancing all of Ramona’s emotions—anger toward her husband, guilt over her children and her job, fear over the encroaching hurricane—while adding complications as the hurricane grows ever closer. The novel’s fast pace rivals that of any thriller, with laugh-out-loud scenes such as Ramona attempting a Zoom meeting in her van during the storm while her children fart in the back seat. 

None of This… has been compared to Where'd You Go, Bernadette and I Don’t Know How She Does It.  I’m not sure these are the best comps, as the humor in these older books is more cynical and subtler than Prusa’s. Still, these comparisons emphasize how long it’s been since traditional publishing routinely offered titles in humorous women’s fiction. In fact, many authors who started in “chick lit” have gone on to write domestic thrillers, family dramas, or summer beach reads instead. I hope None of This… is the start of a new wave for the genre. Lord knows, in today’s world, women definitely need something to make us laugh. 

Thanks to Emi Battaglia PR for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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