Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Big Love

No, not those fun-loving cult members on HBO, but rather a novel by Sarah Dunn. My mom got me this book for Christmas, part of a stack that she got for pennies at a yard sale, and I was casting around looking for something to read and picked this up.

The Big Love is chick lit, good for beach reading, and took me a whopping two days to get through. But there are definitely levels of chick lit. This one is about a million times better than, say, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons or any of the Shopaholic books, but not quite to the levels of Jennifer Weiner or Marian Keyes.

The story is pretty typical. Alison gets dumped hard by her boyfriend Tom, who goes out to buy mustard for a dinner party, then calls her and says that he's in love with somebody else and never comes back. She even works as a columnist, as all heroines in these books have something to do with writing or publishing. But what makes Alison interesting is her background. She grew up an Evangelical Christian, which means that she certainly does not have a Sex and the City kind of liberation about sex or relationships. Even though she's more or less abandonded her faith, you can't completely shake all of the things she's grown up with, and she's in a state of panic about the prospect of never getting married that is a lot more complex and believably coming from her than from other heroines in books like this. She is also very flawed, one of the most neurotic people you'll see, and you can really understand why Tom went running away from her. She's not a total victim and he's not a complete ass. The result is engaging and at times quite funny. This was Sarah Dunn's first novel, and I look forward to reading more from her.

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