Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ladies Lunching

Women About Town
by Laura Jacobs

Genre; Fiction/Drama
Publisher; Penguin Group/Viking/New York/2002
Pages; 226

Plot; Iris Biddle, now in her forties, is living in New York thanks to a failed marriage. To get by she makes one-of-a-kind lamp shades, a job which keeps her fairly rooted to her apartment and helps to bring forward and accentuate her controlled and perfectionistic ways.

Lana Burton, in her mid thirties and the younger sister to a set of twins, is a theatre critic who is trying to move forward in her career as well as trying to get her boyfriend of two years to take the next big steps in their relationship.

Both women are trying to reach their goals, while staying true to themselves, no matter who or what stands in their way. Tied only to one another by their friendship with real estate agent Deena, Iris and Lana confront those issues that women of all walks of life confront; making friendships work, dealing with annoyingly aggressive colleges, balancing their home and work lives, keeping their finances in check and making sure they look good doing it.

My Thoughts; I had trouble finishing this book because, in all honesty, I found it boring. I should have put the book down when I was half way in and nothing of note had happened, but hope kept my eyes on the the page. I was hoping the book was just slow to the punch, but would eventually deliver. I was wrong.

When thinking about this book I can't help but compare it to the episode of Seinfeld when they are going to write a "show about nothing" because to me, this was a book about nothing. Sure I have read books before that contain just everyday events, like Anita Diamant's Good Harbour, but those books stirred emotions, unlike Women About Town. I was even hoping a juicy sex scene might pop up at some point to keep me entertained, but I was sadly disappointed.

The book also left some things without closure. One example of this is when Lana sees Sylvie Moore with another man at a department store and hints at a secret affair. The book doesn't go on to share if it was a juicy affair or whether the man was just a friend from out of town!

What I can say about Women About Town is that it is written well. The characters are beautifully described and even a simple cup of coffee is put in to such terms I could almost smell the mellow aromas.

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone wanting good entertainment, because you will be left wanting. However I will suggest it as a great example of description and imagery.

This book fulfils the requirements of Challenge Five of the Take Another Chance challenge. I was given the number 3 on the random number generator.


  1. Hello there, just stumbled acaross your blog and I love it! As an avid reader myself, it's lovely to find a blog devoted to books :) I post weekly about books and what I'm reaading on my own blog. I'll definitely be visiting your blog again!

  2. Fantastic, honest review! I appreciate reviews that tell it like it is.

  3. I'm sorry--I was signed in under my daughter's name above. That's actually Sarah at SmallWorld Reads, not Laurel. ;-)

  4. Well, I guess you can't win them all. At least the writing was good. And I can never understand when characters are able to support themselves with dubious jobs like "designing unique lampshades." : )

  5. Claire- Thank you! I will def head across to your blog for a browse!
    Laurel/Smallworlds- I was a bit worried writing up such a bad review, but honesty is the best policy, and you guys deserve to hear my true throughts and not a sugared up review. Thanks!
    Jenners- I agree about the dubious jobs, especially from a character who gets $200k a year in alimony and makes one lampshade a week and charges $1000 per shade, then complains about having to live with such a strict budget! I wish my life was that tough!
    Thanks for the comments guys!

  6. I love the cover and appreciate the info on how the book can be used as a learning tool of craft. That's important too. As an aspiring novelist, I take particular note of those factors whether I like the story or not. Thanks again.

  7. Thank you for your comment June!
    This is a wonderfully descriptive book, and I thought that was an important note to make about it because, while the story isn't so hot, it is a great example for people wanting to learn and experience different styles of descriptive writing.