Claire Cook writes the best ordinary middle-aged women I’ve read. She makes them interesting, and in doing so, gives hope for our lives being interesting too.
Synopsis via the Simon & Schuster website:
Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound.
Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun.
Even in books like this, where I have nothing at all in common with Deirdre, I feel like Claire Cook is writing about my tribe, and that the inspiration applies to me as well. And I do end up inspired. I think people like me can do interesting things, can change their lives, can leave ruts behind.
I have to say that everything in the book was just barely plausible– characters and events alike. In spite of being unlikely, they still felt true in a deeper sense. The book is funny, largely because of the over the top nature of some of this (a rocker/new age guru brother, squabbling adult children, hotel room assignment failures…), and I enjoyed all of it. Well, except some of the squabbling. Some of that felt a little too real.
I also loved the details on life with Dancing With the Stars. I suspect this was researched, and it all certainly matches what I know of the show, but it doesn’t matter if it was all from the world of imagination.
Most of all, I loved watching Deirdre figure out her real skills (not just the dancing!) and start sorting out her life.
And if she can do it, maybe I can too.
Thank you to Touchstone for sending me Wallflower in Bloom to review.