Skip to main content

Book 15 of 52: Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews

I did not pick Mary Kay Andrews' Ladies' Nightbecause of the author. I'd never heard of her before the galley of her book, which comes out in June, showed up at my house. I certainly didn't pick it because of the cover - pink with drink umbrellas (I'll add a cover picture when I'm not writing on my iPad). And I absolutely did not pick it because of its title which, after reading the book on my flight to Seattle, seems to dumb down the book.

No, I picked it for this description from the back of the book: "Rising lifestyle blogger Grace Stanton's life gets torpedoed..."

Well hello there.

As some of you may know, I write for Runner's World magazine. I got so fed up with terrible/unethical/bad advice dealing running bloggers, and their posts with 15,000 pictures each - even one where the runner went through the finish line multiple times to get *just* the right post-race photo - that I pitched a story on how to not be a bad running blogger.

The end story was a flip of that, about how blogging can help your running (it's not online). That's typical for me. Most of my articles for them start with something that bugs me and turns into a piece that can be helpful to readers.

After writing that story, I stopped peeking at those bad running blogs, and bad lifestyle blogs, and bad mommy blogs. A group of fellow runners like to share these posts and mock them, but I didn't find it to be worth the hassle or the time. Besides, I have a feeling that most of these bloggers are hiding behind their DSLR cameras, putting on a show about how perfect their lives are, how great "the hubs" is, and how everyone should be like them when, really, their lives are big messes that can't be completely covered up by pretty pictures (for the best take on this kind of stuff, check out Cheaper Than Therapy. She has actual stuff to say while also poking fun at the blogging community. And she likes beer).

Which is exactly the case for Grace Stanton, the main character in this book. She runs a blog called GraceNotes, which she started when the housing market went bust in Florida because her interior design work went bust with it. The blog took off, bringing in $20,000 a month in ad revenue. Grace's husband, who is her employee, squeezes out even more by trading editorial space for discounts on their home, free stuff, etc. - another bugaboo I have with some of these bloggers who write about products like they're the best thing since sliced bread but don't disclose that they were paid to write such nice things about it.

Everything seems to be going on just fine until Grace finds her husband with his pants down (literally) in the company of her personal assistant. That leads Grace to drive his $175,000 Audi into their pool. That gets Grace into more than just hot water with her soon to be ex-husband, but also a anti-woman judge who orders Grace to take divorce counseling classes. That's where Ladies' Night comes in - the women in the group (plus one man) start having drinks post-class at Grace's mother's dive bar.

This isn't all light fluffy stuff, even though some of the characters are archetypes (the slutty assistant! The heartless husband!) In one therapy session, their counselor asks the group to remember a good time they had with their exes. It's a good reminder for me, fresh from a breakup, that there WERE good times. My ex is watching my dog while I'm away. After I dropped her off, I hung out in his kitchen to borrow some WiFi (mine's not hooked up yet) while he made his dinner. That reminded me that I wasn't crazy for having dated him, or for living with him. We did like each other, even if the relationship end didn't work out. It was a good feeling, though, yes, still a bit awkward.

I liked this book. A lot. It'll be a big beach read - literally. It's 685 pages. With no WiFi for my flight, I read most of those 685 pages on the way over to the left coast. I even dug the renovation stuff in the book (Grace ends up working on a 1920s Florida home, the exact kind I'd have bought if I'd moved to Tampa - the book takes place in that general area though more on the Gulf Coast).

It'll be published on June 4.

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