Genre: Chick Lit/Self Help
Type: Kindle e-book
First Published: August 13, 2012
First Line: "Stylish but Shallow."
Book Description from GoodReads: Who knew a Cosmo quiz and a bottle of wine could change a woman’s life? Holly, housewife and frazzled mother of three, is determined to discredit the lackluster result of a Cosmopolitan magazine quiz. After buying a workbook geared toward helping her find her inner goddess, Holly sets off on a year of self-discovery, journaling through each exercise as she goes. Facing inner demons, yoga, an explosive colon cleanse and REALLY spicy curry, the lessons are hard on her emotions, not to mention her digestive system. But does she succeed in the end? Beyond the superficial, what important lesson does Holly’s inner goddess have the power to teach her…and what can Holly teach you?
Note: My sincere thanks to NetGalley and AuthorBuzz for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
My Review: My blog readers know that I'm not a connoisseur of Chick Lit so when I saw the cover of this book on NetGalley I wasn't sure it was for me. But after seeing the high ratings by other readers I was persuaded to give it a shot. And I'm really glad I picked it up.
This is the debut novel from Michelle Colston and I was very impressed with the writing, humour (sarcastic, dry humour at its best!) and the character development. Colston deftly combines Chick Lit with Self-Help and Humour seamlessly and I loved it! Loved it, I say!!
I like to think of myself as someone who has a firm appreciation of what great humour is (and apparently little humility). This means that when I read humourous novels I have really high expectations. Let's just say that Colston knows funny. While reading this book there were so many parts where I literally laughed out loud -- like choked on my coffee at 6:30 in the morning all over my dog laugh out loud. Parts were so funny (wait until you get to her cleanse!) that I'd go back and re-read the section only to continue my giggling because Colston really gets into the mind of the middle class housewife. In other words -- my peeps.
Holly, the main character, has a wonderfully sarcastic sense of humour and I found that the voice that Colston gave her was expertly written and authentic. I could see Holly as someone who I'd hang out with (after her metamorphosis, of course). I envision her as being a cross between Claire Dunphy (my alter ego) from Modern Family and Tina Fey -- both women who exemplify humour, sarcasm and honesty when mothering the small humans who came from them.
When we first meet Holly I honestly didn't like her at all. She was a mom who didn't connect with her kids or husband. She needed to drink regularly to get through the day and was someone who was utterly shallow (with a gaggle of superficial friends t'boot) who didn't realize she was so unhappy.
But, as the book progresses, we see Holly begin to change and learn more about herself. There is no Fairy Godmother to make these changes happen. Holly does the work herself and the results happen at a believable pace which I appreciated. I found that as Holly's eyes opened to some of her issues I also learned some stuff about myself -- something I wasn't expecting to take away from a book that I expected to be just some enjoyable fluff.
Another reason(s) that I loved Holly's character is that I could relate to Holly in so many ways. Colston 'gets' today's modern women and the struggles that we face. Sometimes I felt like Colston had a peep hole into my life. For example,
- Like Holly, I look drop dead sexy in my flannel jammies.
- I complain that I never get flowers from my husband but then complain about the waste of money he just spent when he eventually buys them for me
- I experience annoyance much more than I experience most other emotions
- I'm strangely vain in that like to reread funny emails/blog posts that I've written so I can be impressed with my own sense of humour (oh, there's that humility thing again!)
- I have kids who have the exceptional ability to need to talk to me as soon as I have a phone to my ear
- I love to make lists because it makes me feel like I've accomplished something even though I can procrastinate with the best of them
If there was one wee negative I'd have to say that some of the self-help workbook excerpts came off a little long and a little dry for my tastes but then Holly would step in and I'd be giggling to myself again.
I finished this book and took a good look at myself -- how I treat myself as well as what things inspire me. This inner reflection was definitely not something that I was expecting from this book. Colston's unique ability to get into the mind of the middle class mom helped take this book from being a light read into something much more inspiring and yet not too heavy either.
While I won't necessarily be trying to find my inner goddess, this book helped me to renew my interest in yoga, take more time for myself and to remember to treat myself (mind, body and soul) better. I think those are issues where we could all use a little reminding.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
'Suffering is my teacher. If I pay attention to it instead of trying to numb it out, maybe it can lead me to its root."
"It's simply about gratitude and honor. It's about finding the joy in each of life's little facets, even the ones that are otherwise considered mundane. It's all a matter of perspective, I guess. Each day can be as joyous as you want to make it. Every day can be Super Powerful Happy Goddess Fun Time Day. Kumbaya."
"It's the awareness beneath the thoughts, the stillness inside that creates space to connect with the magic on the outside."