Friday, February 27, 2009

Book Review: Younger

Title: Younger
Author: Pamela Redmond Satran
Genre: Commercial Fiction
Rating: C

Abbreviated Summary (from the Back Flap): "Alice has always looked young for her age, even with her graying hair and her dowdy New Jersey housewife style. Make that ex-housewife: Now that her husband's gone and her daughter is grown, Alice is in desperate need of a while new life. So she lets her friend Maggie transform her... on New Year's Eve. Soon, thanks to the wonders of hair dye and tight jeans, Alice looks really young... At midnight, she kisses a boy who was in diapers when she was in high school.

"The white lie that Alice tells Josh gets her thinking that if no one asks her age, she doesn't have to tell. So she applies for a job... and gets it. Meanwhile, Josh is falling head over heels for Alice, who's just way cooler than girls his age..."

Review: There was way more to that summary about her telling her lies and will she get caught? Obviously. You know the climax going in. The only thing you don't know is, Why would I care? I picked this book up as an impulse buy at the store as I was browsing, I was hungry and the cake caught my eye, and I skimmed to the part about when she meets Josh (I thought the 44 year/25 year relationship was far-fetched) and wanted to see how it was written. Not well, but Josh was a nice character, so I picked it up. Josh is what kept me reading. I found I skimmed a lot of the rest of it (Are those the worst words an author can hear?), I didn't care about her daughter, kind of liked her friend (although I knew the outcome of all her baby-wanting before it even happened).

It was really formulaic and Alice was fine, but the pitch was just so-so for me. Maybe I wasn't in the target demographic. Being 30, I'm too old for the stuff about partying younger people, and too young for the stuff about the older generation. Maybe other people might like it, it just wasn't for me. (Plus, the oft-repeated references to how women in their 40's are at their sexual peak seemed like over-compensating to me.)

There was an interview with the author at the back of the version I bought that I read part of, and she said she'd been kicking the idea for this book around in several different forms. One of which was, "I saw Alice as a rich shallow woman on the brink of killing herself who decides to spend her last hour of life reading Vogue--and therin discovers a miracle-working plastic surgeon whom she gets to transform her into someone who looks young." Sure, it's surreal, but it actually sounds more innovative than this story was.

I've read worse, but I've read better... that gets you a C.

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