Daisy Dooley Does Divorce by Anna Pasternak

Book Review
Title: Daisy Dooley Does Divorce
Author: Anna Pasternak
Publisher: 5 Spot
Released: 2007
Pages: 368
ISBN-10: 0446177946
ISBN-13: 978-0446177948
Stars: 4.5

Saturday, February 2, 2008 at 10:55am (Facebook)

This is the book I’m reading at the moment…snug in my bed under my brand new duvet where I can totally ignore the horrendous winter that’s waiting outside along with an hour’s worth of snow shoveling!

Daisy Dooley Does Divorce is a humorous and heartfelt romp through 39-year-old Brit, Daisy Dooley’s divorce and her consequent quest to understand men, relationships, and most importantly herself and the decisions she makes. It’s a Bridget Jones’s Diary for divorcees and an easy, charming and highly enjoyable read. It is laugh out loud funny, often thought-provokingly poignant and Daisy’s penchant for spiritual/self-help books makes her a kindred spirit. You will love this heartwarming, easy-to-read-in-a-few-sittings book about friendship and daring to realize one’s dreams, even if you’re not divorced or have never been married. Anyone who has been disappointed at some point in her life by love will find so much in common with delightful Daisy. She’s full of spirit, sass and sensitivity and if she were a real person I would want to be her friend.

This particular nugget of wisdom struck me this morning when I read it…

It was true – my heart was like Miles’s shelves, gnawed and splintered with emotional woodworm. I read on: “The difference between a little life and a big life is trust. Trust is the midwife of a big life. People only choose little lives because they don’t trust and they want to control.” That’s the most difficult thing in life, I thought, getting the balance right between not giving up on your dreams and yet having enough faith in their fruition to let them go.

This paragraph rings so true to me as I struggle every day of my life with climbing the mountain of adversity (the mountain that I know is largely self-made) and self-doubt, all the while wondering if I even believe in true love anymore, let alone have the faith that it will find me some day. I have to be willing to be open to it, to trust that it exists and that eventually there will be a man out there who won’t lie to me, use me, play me for the fool, trod all over my broken heart and leave me to reinforce my bitter, cynical, untrusting view of men. They can’t all be utter heartless, cruel, dishonest cads, can they? Now if I could just believe that and hold it as truth in my heart, I might have a fighting chance of actually attracting the right one. Must focus on The Law of Attraction and believe that I deserve the love of a truly good man! If I believe he’s out there, he will be and he will find me.

Discovering the novel Daisy Dooley Does Divorce by Anna Pasternak was the biggest joy I had in reading in 2008. The book was based on Anna’s weekly column of the same name in the London Daily Mail (it has since been retired). Anna’s honesty as a writer, the depth of her characters and her fantastic wit quickly made her a new favourite author and any woman who enjoys chick/wit lit or romance and relationships between women will undoubtedly love this book.

This is the review that changed my life.

It began with my becoming acquainted with a lovely, intelligent woman named Paige O’Neill who is the person who looks after The Waterboys’ online presence on numerous social networking websites. Paige and I connected in 2006 when I sent Mike Scott of The Waterboys a personal letter about a sick friend of mine who was a huge fan (as am I). We became good friends online and in the past three years she has become a soul sister of immense importance in my life, even though I have never met her in person.

Paige looks after the maintenance of Daisy Dooley’s MySpace profile for Anna Pasternak and in March 2008, after reading my review of the book, and with Paige’s recommendation, Anna asked me to help her maintain a Facebook fan page and group for Daisy Dooley. I was honoured to do it and I even got paid for it.

Since then, and as a result of Paige and Anna’s unfailing support and encouragement, I formed my own business, Scully Love Promo, promoting authors & musicians using the major social networking websites on the internet. Over the past year and a half, I have worked for at least 10 different talented artists and although this is only a part-time endeavor for me at this time, I believe there is a good chance that it could one day become my full-time job. And I love it! I love spreading the love about artists that I respect and admire. I’ve done this naturally for many years through my review writing and in every day conversation with friends. However, now I get paid to do it, and I owe that privilege to Paige O’Neill and Anna Pasternak, who are the most amazingly resilient, spiritual, intelligent, and loving women and friends that anyone could hope to have.

Above all else, that is why I continue to recommend this delightful book, Daisy Dooley Does Divorce by Anna Pasternak (available through 5 Spot, a division of Hachette Books, Grand Central’s trade paperback imprint featuring fresh, original voices in women’s fiction and nonfiction).

Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter

Book Review
Title: Mrs. Perfect
Author:  Jane Porter
Publisher: 5 Spot
Released: May 5, 2008
Pages: 432
ISBN 10 – 0446699241

4.5 STARS

I didn’t think I was going to love Mrs. Perfect by Seattle author Jane Porter as much as I loved her preceding work, Odd Mom Out, but as it turns out, not only did I love it as much, I love it more! When I started reading the book, I had a preconceived notion of who the main character, Taylor Young, was. She was introduced in Mom Odd Out and appeared to be Marta Zinsser’s complete opposite, not to mention nemesis.

Taylor Young is a beautiful trophy wife with control issues who lives in a fairy-tale world with her handsome, high-earning, ex-quarterback husband, Nathan – in the dream home she decorated – with their three exquisite little girls, Jemma, Brooke and Tori in Bellevue, Washington. To anyone who looks at her from the outside, Taylor is Mrs. Perfect. However, as we read this book, we watch in amazement at how Jane Porter peels back the layers of Taylor’s character to reveal a woman that I didn’t loathe, but rather fell in love with, just like I did with Marta Zinsser in Odd Mom Out.

Taylor’s perfect life has begun to unravel when her husband takes a job in Omaha after finally admitting to her that for the past year he hasn’t been working, and because they’ve been spending way beyond their means for a very long time, they are now millions of dollars in debt and are going to lose their dream home. Taylor Young not only rises to the challenge of a very difficult situation, but she shows everyone around her what she’s truly made of. Even though she’s falling apart inside, she manages to make the most delicious lemonade out of the hairy lemons in her life. She matures on a visceral, cerebral, and spiritual level before our eyes and we love her for sharing her difficult journey with us.

“You’re bad. I silently repeat the last one as I load the dishwasher, knowing these voices are part of that horrible, hollow feeling inside of me. But I’m not hollow, and I’m not horrible. For all my mistakes, I do love my girls, and I try my best to take care of them. For all my flaws and my vanity and pride, I do love Nathan, and I love him with all my heart. The truth is, I do try. I always try.

Maybe Marta’s right about something else. Maybe trying your best, and doing your best, even if it’s not perfect, is enough.

Maybe it’s unrealistic to think I can be perfect.

Or to put it in Marta-speak, that’s why we have religion. God’s perfect. We’re human.”

Jane Porter knows how to write a meaningful, emotional story for women. She knows how to find the chord that connects us all and how to tug on it to get our attention. She reminds us that many other people in this world are in the same boat as we are and she makes us feel as if we have a cheerleading team behind us, letting us know that we’re going to be better than fine…that things are going to turn out great!

Her contemporary style is flawless and she speaks my language, fluently. She moved me to tears again with this book and in the three books of hers that I’ve read, she’s managed to climb very close to the top of my favourite authors list. Don’t let the candy-coloured book covers fool you. These books are much more substantial than a box of chocolates or a slice of cake. I can’t wait to go and buy her latest 5 Spot release, Easy on The Eyes. It’s at my local bookstore and I know exactly the shelf it’s on.

If you’re looking for a wonderful read with marvelous characterization and relevant contemporary themes, look no further than the divine Ms. Jane Porter.