Life’s A Beach

Published September 11, 2011 by myliteraryleanings

Life’s A Beach by Claire Cook

Overview from www.bn.com: By the bestselling author of Must Love Dogs, the story of two grown-up sisters who fight like cats and dogs—but call each other at least twice a day

When Must Love Dogs was published, the Chicago Tribune called it “pitch-perfect” and the Washington Post declared, “Readers will hope that Claire Cook will be telling breezy summer stories from the South Shore of Massachusetts for seasons to come.” Luckily for her legions of fans, Cook returns with another sparkling romantic comedy that’s reminiscent of Must Love Dogs in all the right ways, but very much its own animal—about a relationship-challenged single woman, her quirky-to-put-it-mildly extended family, and the summer the shark movie came to town.

Life’s a bit of a beach these days for Ginger Walsh, who’s single at forty-one and living back home in the family FROG (Finished Room Over Garage). She’s hoping for a more fulfilling life as a sea glass artist, but instead is babysitting her sister’s kids and sharing overnights with Noah, her sexy artist boyfriend with commitment issues and a dog Ginger’s cat isn’t too crazy about. Geri, her BlackBerry-obsessed sister, is also nearly over the deep end about her pending fiftieth birthday (and might just drag Ginger with her). Toss in a dumpster-picking father, a Kama Sutra T-shirt-wearing mother, a movie crew come to town with a very cute gaffer, an on-again-off-again glassblower boyfriend, plus a couple of Red Hat realtors, and hilarity ensues. The perfect summer read, Life’s a Beach is a warm, witty, and wise look at what it takes to move forward at any stage in life.

My Review:

This book was laugh out loud funny.  If you’re looking for a light read this it.  What more could I say about this one?  Well, it turns out there is something more because I know you want more in a book review than that but if you get nothing else but that it is a lot of fun, I will have done my job.  I had asked myself the other day where I thought the comedy was coming from and I concluded that it is the characters rather than the plot.  The plot is not really that outrageous which is good because it makes a more believable comedy even it is unlikely than most of us would have a movie filming in our town.

We start with Ginger and her mom, who is trying to sell her house and convince Ginger’s dad that they would be happier if they moved into a smaller place in a community for older people.  When the novel opens we see her bring in some real estate ladies to peruse Ginger’s portion of the house which is just over the garage.  The crazy thing is that it happens while she is finishing up her shower and when she comes out she finds these crazy ladies staring at her while she is still dripping in her towel.  She tries her best to ignore them but they she hears them advising her mother to bury a statue of some saint upside down so that her house will sell, advice that her mother decides to follow.

This is kind of important because some crazy stuff happens with that statue later on, beginning with her father’s decision to bring it up.  This man doesn’t want to move and he makes he tries to enlist his daughter’s help in derailing her mother’s plan which she is only too happy to do.  The worse things get the more he starts to sound like a character from an old Bogart gangster movie.

Perhaps some of the funniest moments occur when she is with her sister and her kids.  This is the part that I really related to because like Ginger I never understood why people think that having kids is their only reason for existing.  They always give me a hard time about not having them, like that makes me a bad person.  But I like what Ginger says.

“I’d never understood why the whole world was in such a rush to have children just so they could ask somebody else to take care of them.  What was the big deal about procreation?  I mean, possums do it.” p. 14

The fun starts though when Ginger, who reminded me a lot of Aunt Peg in 13 Little Blue Envelopes, gets the chance to leave town and her on again/off again boyfriend Noah.  Her sister appoints her to become her nephew’s temporary guardian when he gets selected for a small part in a movie that is filming in their town and later in a near-by town in Mass.  She has to learn how to deal with a two-faced show biz mom, a potential affair with the movie’s gaffer, her newly discovered artistic abilities, and her nephew’s growing pains.

Along the way, she starts to discover what she really wants out of her life, while helping others around her do the same thing.  And like most heroines, she grows as a human being, learning to appreciate strengths that she didn’t know she had.  With the new decisions she makes, I also see some sequel potential in here and I hope that Ms. Cook will deign to write one.

All in all this is great story when you want something short and light that will make you laugh, and maybe even learn something.  I think it is worth a read, especially when you need cheering up.  I worked for me!

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