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~Last Chance Saloon~

by Marian Keyes

      Heroines: Varied

     Three school chums move from their sleepy sea-side Irish village to up-all-night London in search of love, excitement, and the fulfillment of all their dreams. 

     The flamboyantly "out" Fintan seems to attain this lofty goal by the ripe old age of 30, but "Ice Queen" Katherine and appetite-challenged Tara have yet to make it, and continue to struggle valiantly on, trying their best just to keep their heads above the murky water that is their dreary existence.

    Only when the shadow of death looms over one member of the close-knit circle of friends, do they come to terms with the fact that their lives are not all they could be.

   Can this sad event help them to let go of their unattainable ideals, and exit "The Last Chance Saloon" in triumph?

      What worked for me:

     I found myself drawn into this story fairly quickly, though had it not been peppered with funny quips and come-backs I might have given up on it.  It really needed that lightness to counter-balance the anxiety of being single coupled with the fear of dying.

      There was a fairly large cast of characters, some of whom I found myself worrying over their lot in life, and others whom I really despised! Ugh!

     The plot had some predictability here and there, but I have to admit that the author threw just enough curveballs to keep the story exciting for me.

     Size-wise the girls were all very different.  Friend and former roomie Liv was classically Swedish in that Barbie doll sort of way.  Katherine was very slender.  And Tara was a yo-yo dieter who swung from voluptuous to plump and back, depending on how she was feeling about her life. The more her awful emotionally abusive boyfriend harangued her about her weight, the more she ate out of sheer misery, the poor girl!

What didn't work for me:    

     The initial shallowness of the character's lives can make a reader want to smack herself repeatedly in the face with this book (and I was reading the hardcover version!)  But eventually they redeem themselves enough that one can feel good about having picked up the story.  (Personally, I can't read multiple Singleton novels back-to-back as it's just too much angst for me.)

Overall:

    With its clever "coming full circle" theme, the witty and wistful "Last Chance Saloon" is an interesting entry into the Brit Chick Lit category of fiction.

Warning: there is some coarse language and a few steamy scenes in this book.

If you liked "Last Chance Saloon" you might also enjoy: "Love at Large", "Coffee and Kung Fu", "What a Girl Wants", "Good in Bed", "Bridget Jones's Diary", "Jemima J.", "Having It and Eating It", "Getting Over It", "Tara Road", and "Circle of Friends".

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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