BOOK REVIEW 001: Life á la Mode by Linda Lenhoff

Genre: Fiction

Place: Printed in U. S. A.

Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation

Publication date: © 2003

Pages: 268

Price: U. S. $6.99

Canada $9.99

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ISBN: 0-7582-0972-X

Thirty is a mind gobbling age. One is lost between what they know about themselves and self-discovery. Realizing their fears, aspirations and more fears. It is confusing and scary.

At thirty, our main character Holly, a science production editor, is divorced(having been married at 22 and divorced at 26), relatively happy as she puts it during a rant to her ex-husband Josh, “I’m not sure I’m incredibly happy these days, but I’m not too unhappy. I’m relatively happy. I’m okay. I have my little apartment and soft clothes. I have a kitty postcard on my fridge.” who she describes as, “…a badly dressed mathematician.. ‘ earlier on and she takes joy in the little things in her life like opening junk mail which she finds a good substitute for dating as dates don’t make you eligible for prize money or vacation condos, sewing her curtains, painting her apartment chores she never gets done and prides herself in getting anything done.

She has a gorgeous younger sister, Janie who unlike her, pays attention to what she wears, rocks heels like a model and is always punctual to their lunch dates with their mom and has got expensive taste. Holly finds herself taking joy in wearing old sweaters, leggings and sleeping in baggy gray t-shirts that she’s not sure belongs to her or her ex husband Josh, “I try to straighten out my old gray ripped t-shirt, which I think used to be Josh’s or maybe he stole it from me before I stole it from him.”

When her ex husband announces that he’s remarrying and her sister Janie is getting engaged for the 7th time, “when your sister gets engaged for the sixth time, you should not have to listen to her story. Let her tell a stranger. That’s what subways are for.” and her office fling with her workmate Tom comes to an end she finds turning 31 a tad bit overwhelming and all these fleeting emotions bombard her and her being her, she uses humor with her best friend Maria to distract themselves from their real problems.

My favorite character was Gran, albeit mentioned briefly during their weekend with Maria at the MaryAnn Spa. She is far into her eighties and everything you expect her not to be. She is vibrant, daring, she has a blue-and-gray punk haircut, prodding and humorous. In the mineral bath, “Why don’t you girls tell us about your love lives,” Gran says. You’d think the hot water might make her sleepy, but no. Gran pushes Holly to analyze her relationship with her ex husband which she usually avoids and it actually helps. When Holly mentions that she’s still friends with Holly one of the women probes, “You still see him?” but gran interjects, “you still sleep with him?” then turns to the other woman, “No sense in being shy.” She is boisterous and an embodiment of living life to its fullest.

I find Holly very relatable as a character for instance when she says, “I’ve finished with my exercise for today, which involves going downstairs to get the mail.” Albeit she is way past her twenties, she struggles with working out and diets as we all do since she doesn’t find them to be her thing. She instead indulges in pies with á la mode (ice cream on top) severally with her best friend Maria.

I enjoyed reading this book, reading Holly’s thoughts that occupied most of the book although the ending was a bit mundane for me and I feel like Maria and Holly took their sense of humor overboard in an attempt to mask their true emotions.

I’d recommend this book to every woman out there most especially those who are going through a time in their life where nothing seems certain and it’s almost like a daze day in day out. Same job, same apartment, same faces but still finding the joyous, satisfactory little moments in between.