As my book group is approaching its 5th year and its 50th book, a review of past reads shows that the overwhelming majority have had unhappy, nay downright miserable endings. One group member has been pleading for a happy book. So it was that Stuck-In-A-Book’s mention of unremitting cheeriness led to the swift inclusion of this 2005 Richard and Judy Book Club choice onto our list.
Now I try not to indulge in inveterate literary snobbery and so I do enjoy a smattering of chicklit here and there. The cover in itself was no turnoff. However, the addition of candy floss pink edged pages was one saccharine-tablet too many and I began to read with a firm determination not to enjoy this book.
Neither did I for about 120 pages. The candy floss allusion proving more than apt. Very sweet, dissolving to substancelessness after the initial taste. But just as suddenly I found myself charmed. It is quite an enjoyable read taken on its own terms. A cheerful (Stuck-In-A-Book was right!) book about newly-formed friendships, the girlishness of the late teens, the innocence of the 50’s, pop idolatry in the days before Elvis, mismatched couples. As a romantic comedy, it would make quite a good film. The more serious social history element, the declining wealth of the upper middle classes as war and death duties take their toll on both people and property, is wrapped in an absurd humour, effectively removing much of the pain if not the sharpened point.
The group finally categorised the read as a happy fairy-tale for grownups and the book averaged a respectable rating.
I hope the group enjoyed the respite from mislit because we have The Lizard Cage coming up ….. and I can’t wait!