So much to say and so little space to say it! I just realized how much I had going on at the original "From the Cheap Seats" and decided to start a little cousin blog. This blog will focus on book reviews and writings of a more creative nature.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Book Review and Giveaway: Perfect on Paper by Maria Murnane

Publisher: Wink's Ink
314 pages
Available at Amazon

Can you even imagine going through the exciting, yet often tedious, wedding preparations only to have it called off by the person with whom you were to walk down the aisle?

Why does said person call off the most important day of your life?

Because, he's just not that into you.

Can you imagine?

Maria Murnane sets the tone of her story within the first few pages where we find the protagonist eagerly preparing for her upcoming nuptials in one scene and having her heart crushed by her seemingly coldhearted fiance in the next. Murnane weaves a tale that is not unlike those penned by other writers of a similar genre (think: Jane Green and Emily Giffin).

Waverly, the novel's protagonist, is a smart, albeit awkward yet endearing character with whom you can't help but to empathize. Her career life seems ideal, filled with superstars and lively parties (where Waverly often finds herself in somewhat socially inconvenient situations). After recovering from her near-nuptial letdown, she hesitantly enters the dating world only to discover that while there are dates to be had, there is no one really worth dating.

Murnane spends a relatively short time on Waverly's dating life. Instead she focuses on the development of Waverly herself. Through her adventures and misadventures, a tentative and self-conscious young lady emerges as a confident and independent woman, without even seeming to notice it herself.

With deft use of conversational prose, Murnane pulls the reader in just as a friend would engage her girlfriends over drinks, discussing her latest romantic interlude. A reader can't help but lean in and ask for more, hanging on each word and signaling the bartender to get her another margarita at the same time.

Just as I would begin to feel that the situations and outcomes were rather formulaic "chick lit", Murnane's welcoming wit and Waverly's utter charm enrich the story with unique, yet relatable moments. Even Waverly's hard-to-fathom turn of fortune in the last third of the novel is easier to digest once it is realized that even with sudden fame and promising love, nothing is ever perfect.

From Waverly's humiliating encounters with potential suitors (such as blurting out to a crush, "I've never kissed so many boys in my life.") and her "Everygirl" appeal to the winsome Honey Notes, peppered throughout the novel, and the excremental anecdote (you'll know what I'm referring to when you read it), Murnane weaves the single girl's tale about love, life and trying to figure it all out.

The Winner of the Giveaway: Allison from Allison Says! Congrats!