Besides being a writer, a trademark paralegal, a New York Yankees fan (with or without a good pitching rotation) and a runner, I am also the organizer of a book club through www.meetup.com, dedicated to the genre of ‘chick-lit’. At each meeting, we discuss the book of the month (among other girl’s-night-out appropriate topics) over a beverage or two and snacks. It’s a blast and I look forward to it every month. Each month, I post a poll with four or five possible book choices and the book with the most votes wins.
I’ve decided, moving forward, to review the book of the month on my blog. While the review will be written by me, it will include the comments and opinions of the book club as a whole. This past month, the winner was “The Ten Best Days of My Life” by Adena Halpern and the book club met this past Wednesday.
Without further ado, here’s our Review of “The Ten Best Days of My Life”
Synopsis – The hereafter is happier than ever in Halpern’s debut novel. After Alex Dorenfield and her dog, Peaches, get smashed by a car, they wind up in heaven, where bubbly 29-year-old Alex is floored by how hip the digs are—especially Seventh Heaven, where Alex’s dreams (of, for instance, designer clothes, an awesome house and eating without gaining weight) come true. The icing on the cake is her reunion with a few deceased family members and meeting a dreamy prospective soul mate. Only problem? She must pass an entrance exam to stay in Seventh Heaven and not be demoted to the fourth level, where she would have to live in a condo, wear last year’s clothes and lose Peaches (all dogs stay in Seventh Heaven). So Alex gets to work on an essay to prove she led a worthwhile and fulfilling life. This simple little story is syrupy sweet throughout; readers into the heavenly have another bonbon to savor.
The general consensus was that the book was very light but highly entertaining. The book did not tackle any serious issues and was kind of fluffy, however, this was the reason many of us enjoyed it so much. Although while reading, most of us considered our own ten best days and whether we’d likely be accepted into Seventh Heaven, the novel was a perfect escape from the stress of our own lives. Some people said it was a perfect beach read and I concur, having devoured it while vacationing on the Norwegian Epic. And, finally, some members said they read it directly after finishing a deep, thought provoking novel and welcomed the change of pace.
While many of us enjoyed the book specifically because it was such a light read, a few members of the club did not enjoy the book for just that reason. One said it was like a “Little Debbie’s Snack Cake” – too syrupy sweep – and she couldn’t even bring herself to finish. Another member enjoyed it, but described it as ‘hoakey’. One universal negative was that we didn’t buy the connection between Alex and her prospective soul mate, Adam. Adam didn’t have much of a personality and there was no evidence to suggest that he belonged in Seventh Heaven either, aside from looking adorable in a baseball cap (and most guys do).
But the ending left most of us teary eyed, in a good way. The last few chapters were very powerful.
Finally, we all agreed that in order to enjoy this book, you need to suspend reality, not think too much and just go with the flow! Since I read it on vacation, I had no problem with this but many attendees on Wednesday had questions. For instance, when Alex lands in heaven, she spends most of her time with her grandparents and her uncle. But her grandparents never mentioned their own parents and grandparents and wouldn’t you think they’d want to spend time with them too? This never crossed my mind while reading the book but, then again, I was on vacation and one of my first rules of thumb while vacationing: don’t think so much!
In sum, the majority of the attendees really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone looking for an entertaining, light, beach-like read.