Thursday, August 24, 2006

She had me at saskatoon berry bush

I read a great book this summer. And one I picked up on a whim. Don’t you love great surprises like that?

The book is THE JOURNAL OF MORTIFYING MOMENTS by Robyn Harding. When I bought the book, I didn’t realize she was a Canadian author, but on page 1 she mentions a saskatoon berry bush, which immediately sent me to the author bio to confirm her nationality. Yup.

(Okay, she set the book in Seattle, but she’s from my home and native land. The saskatoon berry reference makes me wonder if she's not originally from the prairies... but I digress...)

THE JOURNAL OF MORTIFYING MOMENTS has a great hook and a creative structure—and I’m a sucker for writers who use clever little twists to straightforward storytelling. The premise is that the heroine lets her gorgeous ex-boyfriend walk all over her (and have sex with her whenever he wants, in spite of treating her like dirt). So she goes to a shrink for help, who suggests that she keep a journal of times in her life when she made a fool of herself because of a man. (I’m paraphrasing here.)

For you writers… The entries in the journal become a clever way for the writer to show interesting back-story about the protagonist and help us understand her better without flashbacks or pages of narrative. Cool idea. Wish I'd thought of it first. :-)

Ms. Harding has an engaging style and great sense of humour and I love a book where the heroine actually changes/grows as a result of events in the story and her reaction to them. Even though Kerry, her protagonist, makes some bad decisions, she doesn’t just let things happen to her. All her actions felt really organic and true in this fast paced fun read. She did include the now-cliché-in-chick-lit gay best friend… but he was a real character and I believed they were actually friends. Kerry also has female friends with their own subplots which all fit well into the overall story, adding depth. I also loved that there were at least three possible guys who could be Mr. Right, and while I think most readers will be rooting for the one who wins her, Ms. Harding did a great job of making you wonder if Kerry would choose someone else.

Some of the mortifying moments were truly cringe-worthy and I laughed out loud several times (This book embarrassed me on my flight back from the RWA conference in Atlanta).

Check it out!

5 comments:

Tempest Knight said...

Sounds like a great read. I might have to check it out next time I go on a book shopping spree to Borders. :)

Sinead M said...

Hey Maureen,

Can I borrow it??

Thought I'd ask first

Louisa Edwards said...

Hey, just because you didn't think of the journal thing first doesn't mean you can't ever use it! You know what T.S. Eliot said: "Immature writers borrow. Mature writers steal."

Christine said...

That sounds great Maureen. I'll have to check it out...right after I finish writing Chapter 5...

Eileen said...

Oooh she just had a second book come out which is also a great read. She lives her in Vancouver- this puts her at risk for being stalked by me in my never ending author worship. Have you read "I'm not the new me" by McClure? I just picked it up and loved it.

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