Sunday, 4 September 2011

Declaring Spinsterhood by Jamie Lynn Braziel

Declaring Spinsterhood by Jamie Lynn Braziel is a chick-lit book- which is not a genre I frequent: rather one I sometimes stumble upon. I got this book in a giveaway, and it was also the ARC copy, though I noticed no prominent mistakes. On the whole, it was enjoyable to read, but predictable.

Our main character, Emma Bailey, has a relatively entertaining way of reciting the story, though she repeated herself more than I liked. Her family life is quite terrible, and I literally couldn’t understand why she put up with it or- moreover- why her family were such an unfeeling load of renal mass without a shred of empathy. I liked the Dad, and her brother, but no-one else really. I mean, you’d think they’d just lay off with the jokes about her being single: especially since they’ve been doing it for years. Braziel tried rectify this by giving her a gun license, making her ‘bad-ass’ but I don’t get it. She doesn’t seem to do anything different to her usual self. I sort of felt that the gun merely acted as a plot device.

The mother was the worst because she was completely deaf to everything her daughter said to her, inviting Emma’s ex-boyfriends to Sunday lunch, and arranging a myriad of blind dates, despite them epically failing in the past. I actually didn’t really understand why Emma’s father married her since he is so much nicer and more cheerful, while she just some kind of cold, reputation-obsessed matchmaker. I’d have liked to see a point when she wasn’t so unapproachable.

Her friends were much more interesting: Kathy’s amiability was really evident to me, and I liked her almost straight away (though I don’t understand her covering for Emma so much). Brian was nice, but I knew where the story was going: that he’d get a girl, Emma would have an epiphany and one way or another things would work out. Even with this in mind, I wish it wasn’t so smooth. We knew something was wrong with all of Emma’s romantic interests because she didn’t trust Steve to be faithful…or that other guy at all. I don’t even remember his name, and he was passively important.

The novel’s name comes from Emma’s declaration that she is going to give up on men and live alone for the rest of her life, but I never really felt this was the case. She was pining after someone else at the time, and she never made any big change towards this aim. I sort of didn’t understand the declaration anyway it seemed either (A) a spontaneous, unconsidered choice or (B) a bad reaction to a bad date. The guys she dated were jerks, granted, but I don’t think we got enough history to back this up. Perhaps I’m being harsh though, since it was obvious that Steve really messed her up and, romantically, things weren’t looking too bright.

I think I’ve torn into this book a little, but I don’t think it’s that bad. I don’t read books in this genre, and I’m a bit particular about romance in books, so I could conclude that this just wasn’t my kind of reading material. It’s short though, so I’d never say I wasted time.

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