Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Last Time I was Me by: Cathy Lamb

Title: The Last time I Was Me Author: Cathy Lamb Publisher: Kinsington BOoks Pages: 417 Pages

Synopsis from Goodreads:

I wrapped up my grandmother's tea cup collection and my mother's china, then grabbed a violin I'd hidden way back in my closet that made me cry, a gold necklace with a dolphin that my father gave me two weeks before he died of a heart attack when I was twelve and, at midnight, with that moon as bright as the blazes, I left Chicago. When Jeanne Stewart stops at The Opera Man's Cafe in Weltana, Oregon, to eat pancakes for the first time in twelve years, she has no idea she's also about to order up a whole new future. It's been barely a week since she succumbed to a spectacularly public nervous breakdown in front of hundreds of the nation's most important advertising and PR people. Jeanne certainly had her reasons--her mother's recent death, the discovery that her boyfriend had been sleeping with a dozen other women, and the assault charges that resulted when Jeanne retaliated in a creative way against him, involving condoms and peanut oil.
Now, en route to her brother's house in Portland, Jeanne impulsively decides to spend some time in picturesque Weltana. Staying at a B&B run by the eccentric, endearing Rosvita, she meets a circle of quirky new friends at her court-ordered Anger Management classes. Like Jeanne, all of them are trying to become better, braver versions of themselves. Yet the most surprising discoveries are still to come--a good man who steadily makes his way into her heart and a dilapidated house that with love and care might be transformed into something wholly her own, just like the new life she is slowly building, piece by piece.
As heartfelt as it is hilarious, The Last Time I Was Me is a warm, wise novel about breaking down, opening up, and finally letting go of everything we thought we should be, in order to claim the life that has been waiting all along.

This was a fairly entertaining read, but I had problems with the believability factor. How can a wealthy (although hated) member of a small town be missing and no one investigate or even question the disappearance? I have my doubts that real anger management classes visit bars together, throw peanut butter at one another, pretend to be birds, and require male members to go out dressed as women.  Even if a grown woman were brave enough to jog naked at night, would her anger management class not at least question the safety of such when she told them about it? How can an alcoholic quit cold turkey and experience zero withdrawal symptoms? Lastly- the court trial, although hilarious, was highly unrealistic. No judge would put up with that.

 That being said, it was a funny read. You just have to take it as the chick lit beach read that it is, and not expect more.

 The main character was not entirely likable. You've lost your husband and unborn child in a horrid accident, you've had a nervous breakdown and are struggling with alcoholism...but you can feel much better by staring at your shoes? The reader is left wondering if Jay couldn't have found himself a kinder, less self-absorbed wife.

The other characters, although one-dimensional, were much more likable. Rosvita, in spite of (or maybe because of) her neurotic germ obsession was amusing.
All in all, as I stated earlier, this is an OK beach read, as long as one takes it for what it is. Would I read it again? No. However I DID finish it which, for me, was saying something at least.

Read this book if...
*you are bored and looking for a light, humorous read

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