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~Having It and Eating It~

by Sabine Durrant

      Heroine: Feeling frumpy, still carrying baby weight

     Meet thirty-something Maggie Owens, former journalist turned stay-at-home-mum of two baby boys.  Maggie loves her life, but lately she feels disconnected from everything: the "real" world, the one where making money is all that counts; her "friends" with whom she has nothing in common save motherhood, and most of all her partner Jake, who has been very distant while working on several major advertising accounts at once.

   And nothing seems to drive this point home to Maggie as decisively as a chance meeting with an old girlhood friend, the devastatingly successful, blonde, slender Claire Masterson.  It is Claire who has made her mark on the world of international journalism, while Maggie submitted her work to third and fourth rate publications. But Claire states that she's getting too old for a jetset life and has moved back home to get back to her roots and hopefully find the man of her dreams, the one who will give her the family she longs for.

    At first Maggie is thrilled to have her old friend around, but soon a series of upsetting coincidences leave Maggie wondering if Jake isn't having an affair with the toned and tan Claire, which in turn leads her to consider wandering down the garden path herself. 

      What worked for me:

    The word craft in this story was excellent; certainly a notch above the other chick lit books of this nature.  Some passages I read more than once, just to savor the clever construction of the sentences and the images they portrayed.

      As a stay-at-home mom myself, it was easy for me to slip into Maggie's world of diapers and spit-up.  And I completely understood her struggle with feeling herself to be somehow less important than the supermoms who balanced kids with careers.

       Size-wise Maggie is never really pinned down to a particular number, we just know that she feels dumpy and requires clothing designed for ladies with a "curvier" figure.

What didn't work for me:    

      The characters weren't particularly deep, but were still fleshed out enough for me to dislike most of them, with the exception of Jake.  I felt sympathetic for him but really didn't "know" him beyond the fact that he worked a lot, loved soccer, and adored his family.

      "Having It and Eating It" truly lives up to its title.  The book seemed to be meant as a "grass is always greener" cautionary faerie tale, but the author doesn't really explore the moral of the story.  The reader never sees Maggie paying the price for her poor judgment.   Whether it's with a couples therapist or someone who specializes in post partum depression, Maggie is in need of some serious counseling.

Overall:

      A quirky, enjoyable read, especially for fans of the current British Chick Lit craze or admirers of well-constructed prose.  However, the plot is so infuriating that you might miss some of those beautifully written passages when skimming forward to find out what happens in the less-than-satisfactory conclusion of this tale.

Warning: there is some coarse language in this book, as well as some steamy love scenes.

If you liked "Having It and Eating It" you might also enjoy "Love at Large", "Inappropriate Men", "Coffee and Kung Fu", "Good in Bed", "Switcheroo", "Last Chance Saloon", "Jemima J.", "Bridget Jones's Diary", and "Getting Over It".

Have you read this book and have a comment to make on it? Join a discussion about the book at the Dangerous Curves forum or submit a review to this website

 

Good-bye, Mom.

I love you and will miss you forever.

 

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