I have decided I’m much too hard on other people’s books. Then again, I’m equally as hard on stuff I’ve written so maybe I’m an equal opportunity book grinch?
At least I’m fair.
When I first started on Here, Home, Hope I didn’t like it, not one little bit.
I didn’t identify with the main character, Kelly, and then I read some more and started identifying with her too much and that made me uncomfortable and I wanted to put the book down.
And then I started noticing tiny editing errors and a couple of inconsistencies and it was at that point that I knew I was being petty. Because I could see myself becoming Kelly and that idea wasn’t/isn’t too attractive.
In the first part of the book–the Here part–Kelly isn’t exactly someone I would describe as strong.
Kelly’s way too concerned with the resident “mean girl” queen bee from her kids’ school. She seems to live for brief calls from her sons from camp. She’s stuck and she’s almost forty and she doesn’t seem to like her life all that much. Kelly starts making lists of things to change and it’s around the middle part of the “Here” part or maybe the “Home” part that Kelly started to grow on me.
Rouda walks a fine line between Meg Cabot style chic lit–which I love–and letting the voice of a mature woman come through. At times the internal monologue sounds more like a teen but, in the end, it works and Rouda’s Kelly manages to avoid coming off as an airhead.
By the time Here, Home, Hope was done, I liked Kelly. I liked Here, Home, Hope and I think you’ll like it too.
Here’s the synopsis:
Kelly Johnson becomes restless in her thirty-ninth year. An appetite for more forces her to take stock of her middling middle-American existence and her neighbors’ seemingly perfect lives. Her marriage to a successful attorney has settled into a comfortable routine, and being the mother of two adorable sons has been rewarding. But Kelly’s own passions lie wasted. She eyes with envy the lives of her two best friends, Kathryn and Charlotte, both beautiful, successful businesswomen who seem to have it all. Kelly takes charge of her life, devising a midlife makeover plan. From page one, Kelly’s witty reflections, self-deprecating humor, and clever tactics in executing that plan–she places Post-it notes all over her house and car–will have readers laughing out loud. The next instant, however, they might rant right along with Kelly as her commitment to a sullen, anorexic teenager left on her doorstep tries her patience or as she deflects the boozy advances of a divorced neighbor. Readers will need to keep the tissue box handy, too, as Kelly repairs the damage she inflicted on a high school friend; realizes how deeply her husband, Patrick, understands and loves her; and ultimately grows into a woman empowered by her own blend of home and career.
Winner of the 2011 Indie Excellence Award, Here, Home, Hope will surely appeal to readers of chick lit and other women’s fiction titles who are ready to transition into something new in their own life.
And here’s the book trailer: