Skip to main content

Book 31 of 52: So Happy Together

This, readers, is the last in the string of romances I read for the latest and greatest piece about the industry. So Happy Togetherby Maryann McFadden (Pub. date July 7) isn't bad, and probably more in line with "women's fiction" than what you'd typically think of in romance. There isn't, for example, any blatant descriptions of sex. The heroine isn't wronged by a man to kick off the story, and there really isn't a romantic rival. It might not even be clear who the hero is (though I could tell).

The story's about Claire Noble (nice name, eh?). She's about to start her new life -- she's engaged and moving from New Jersey to Arizona after the marriage. After taking care of her daughter as a single parent, and then her aging parents, it's time for her to finally live. But when said daughter, who had left home in a huff years before, shows up practically crowning a grandchild, everything changes. Obviously. It's not every day an estranged daughter comes home and has a baby in the bathroom.

Overall, it was OK. Probably too long and drawn out in places (the whole whale thing in Cape Cod was too long and read at parts like the characters were asking questions just to give us background -- which would be fine, but it was almost textbook like), but I enjoyed it and kept turning back to it at night. I cared about the characters. I even got into bed early last night so I could finish it. It'll make a good beach book.

I have one big problem with the book, though: the inclusion of New Jersey Monthly.

Now, I like New Jersey Monthly. I work for them and have been known to call the magazine "the man" but in a good way because it is a man I enjoy working for. In the novel, Claire wants to become a photographer. She is hired by an environmentalist to take pictures of an article he's working on. Turns out that magazine is New Jersey Monthly.

A few things:

1. Writers don't hire photographers. Ever.
2. There's no way the magazine would allow an unproven and unpublished photographer shoot photos for a big feature -- especially not in black and white film.
3. What budget are they using that writer can rent a house for three months and the magazine pay for it? While he's not working on any other stories? I don't think "the man" would be giving that budget. If so -- Ken, we need to talk.

I say this partly in jest. I laughed so hard when I got to the New Jersey Monthly parts that I had to put the book down. But it irked me because it broke down the wall between fiction and reality, and in doing so was inaccurate.

You might think I'm being nit picky, and maybe I am. It probably won't phase another reader. But the magazine is "the man," and I feel weird seeing its name flung around like that -- and hopefully I won't be getting calls from black and white film photographers begging me to hire them.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Welcome Back to Book a Week with Jen!

Hello hello! Yes, the rumors (that I started) are true. On New Year's Day, I fired up the old Book a Week with Jen blog, gave it a new domain, and I'm going to be writing about my reading habits once again. If you don't know me, my name is Jen A. Miller , and I'm a freelance writer and author. I've been freelancing now for 17 years, and in that time, have written hundreds of articles, three books ( two about the Jersey Shore and one about running ), and two ebooks ( both about freelance writing ). If you're not new around here, wow a lot has changed. I wrote a memoir , picked up a regular running column for the New York Times , and put that back down again. I ran a lot of marathons, and got into ultra marathoning, which lead me to run my first 24 hour race on New Year's Eve/New Year's Day 2020/2021 . My first dog, Emily, died in 2017 . I sold my first home, lived out of my car for a year traveling the country , scooped up a scruffy cattle dog mix in Ida

Book 5 of 52: Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen

I don't always try to match my reading to what I'm doing, but when I go to Florida, I try to pack at least one Florida weird book. There was no better novel to bring with me to read on a ferry from Key West to Dry Tortugas National Park , than Carl Hiaasen's Stormy Weather . Hiaasen was writing about #floridaman before #floridaman was a thing (and when this - # - was the pound sign).  Stormy Weather is set in 1992 in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, which is still the most destructive hurricane to have ever hit Florida, and only one of four hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. still at Category 5 strength. According to the Miami Herald , Hurricane Andrew destroyed 63,000 homes and damaged another 101,241. Such disasters bring out the best in humanity but also the worst. F raud flowed into South Florida in Andrew's wake . That's where  Stormy Weather comes in. From an advertising executive who yanks his new wife away from their Walt Disney World honeymoon to r

Book 11 of 52: The World Without Us by Alan Weisman

In my travels, I've accumulated photos in what I call the "Plants Where They Shouldn't Be" series. They're of weeds, flowers and trees growing in places that look uncomfortable: poking out of lava that's OK to walk on but warm enough to generate steam, growing around a mile marker on the road, sprouting on the back of a parking sign - that kind of thing. On the cheesy side, they're reminders that we can flourish in the most unlikely circumstances. On a more realistic end, they show that humans are constantly battling back nature, and that someday we'll probably lose the fight. I thought about those photos when I read  book 8 of 52 Station Eleven  (and watched  the HBO Max adaptation ), which show a world without 99.99 percent of our current human population. The story focuses on people, of course, but set them in a world where the things humans have created - electricity, internet, buildings, bridges, roads - are being taken back by nature. A Jersey Sh