February 12, 2005
Book Review - Parting Shots
Uh oh, another book review. Sorry if this is boring to some, but the reason I post reviews is mainly for the writers out there. You learn something each time you read a book and often times it's a valuable lesson that can be incorporated into our own writing. So bare with me, I promise to get back to my usual sarcastic self. :-)
Book review: Parting Shots by Freda Bright From Publisher's Weekly
Dani Sloane is a 41-year-old divorce lawyer who deals out breezy, well-meant advice to clients yet fails to see the handwriting splashed across the walls of her own beloved Manhattan apartment until the day her husband Ted--a onetime Columbia journalism student with Pulitzer dreams who has since buckled down to a miserable PR job--leaves her for a younger woman. Dani emerges from weeks of deep denial howling with genuine outrage and pain. Meantime, their chunky, virginal daughter Sam, a college freshman, lands a boyfriend old enough to be her father. Bright ( Options ) makes these not-so-wild situations fresh, poignant and funny. The juxtaposition of mother and daughter teetering furiously on the brink of independence at two very different stages of life adds a wry twist and a measure of truth that is enjoyably uncontrived.
Now I understand why all the writing books out there say it's a MUST that your characters have a weakness. Dani Sloane was a total she-devil. The author did a good job showing her emotions, especially anger, but there was no weakness in this character and I simply couldn't relate to her. I got impatient with her after a time and just wanted her to move on. She was too hell-bent on getting revenge, which I can't say I wouldn't want revenge in the same place, but the author really dragged it on for too long. I think it was a good premise for a story, but I feel the author could have cut out about 1/4 of the book. The ending was disappointing as well. She's finally successful in breaking down a "confirmed bachelor" and yet she's the one to turn him down at the end. It was a good message on the surface, women shouldn't rely on a man to form their identity, but when it comes down to it, women need men - it's just instinctive to want to have someone to grow old with. I think Bright could have gotten that message across AND gotten the man. Instead, the character came off as cold and unfeeling.
What did I learn? To give my characters weaknesses so the readers can empathize.
Moral: Don't rely on anyone to form your identity, know who you are first, then jump into a relationship.