8 May 2009
Book Review: Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison
Sandra has a double life, she works as phone-sex operator called Penelope to get some easy cash, and this is how she funds her shoe addiction. Finally, Joss is a nanny for the most awful family and is so desperate to get out of the house she's willing to join any group.
The ladies meet at 'Shoe Addicts Anonymous', and realise they are all going to be friends for a very long time...
As you can probably tell from the plot-line and its cartoony-style cover, this book is pretty fluffy chick-lit, and probably not one for those who dislike this genre purely because you probably won't enjoy it. However, I did find this to be better than some of the books I have read belonging to this genre, and the book did have some more serious notes weaved in the 'shoes addicts' storyline, which gave the book a bit of an edge. The book was very enjoyable, and mainly because of the author's really enjoyable writing style, it was a fun and easy going read with likeable characters whose world you quickly get absorbed into.
For me, it was the characters which made this book enjoyable for me. Although they all had their problems, they were all really normal and likeable sounding people and you quickly found yourself being absorbed into their different worlds. Although its centred on four different women, you never find yourself getting their stories confused because they are so different. All of their personal lives are equally interesting and fun to read, and Harbison's writing style adapts to each of the characters with ease, letting the story flow seamlessly, and develop in a natural path. With a story involving so many characters and plot-lines, there's a danger the reader could lose interest or become confused (as I have done with books in the past) with all the people you're reading about, but this definitely doesn't happen in this well constructed story.
Lorna's struggles with money is something that is quite a problem these days, although your electricity being cut off is pretty bad and I wouldn't let it get that far! Lorna was definitely the most likeable of the bunch, and I looked forward to her part of the story as I read about each of the others, she seemed like someone I'd want to be friends with myself! Helene's story was intriguing, you could tell there was more to it that met the eye and the way the story unfolded was good, and kept you wanting to find out more. She's a bit of an oppressed woman, and Harbison tackled the issue of her struggling relationship and Helene being paraded around very well, with real emotion and understanding. Sandra's life was amusing yet at the same time quite sad because she has bad agoraphobia, and I think the author tackled this issue very well, with realistic descriptions of Sandra's feelings and a few therapies she goes through as well. She was clearly the one you were meant to sympathise with, starting off as a quite tragic figure but by the end I had really warmed to her. Finally, Joss was probably my least favourite character, she seemed too weak to me compared to the other 3 and didn't seem to fit in properly. I got irritated with her quite a lot, and I actually think the book would have been fine without her in it to be honest!
This book was really enjoyable, and I thoroughly loved reading it. In fact, once I got into the story, which didn't take very long at all, I couldn't put it down as I was desperate to find out how it was all going to end! The story had a good momentum, not leaving any part of the story going too long so that reader doesn't get bored, and it was this which kept me reading as much as I did! The book is written in the third person, which works best for this type of story because of the multiple characters, and Harbison's writing style is easy to read and enjoy. For fans of chick-lit, this is definitely a must read, and I would thoroughly recommend you get hold of a copy. This is author Beth Harbison's debut novel, and I look forward to reading more of her books in the future!