Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Audiobook Review: Objects of My Affection by Jill Smolinksi

Lucy's life is headed in the wrong direction.  She's just sent her teenage son to rehab instead of college, she's living in a friend's spare bedroom, and her boyfriend dumped her.  She desperately need some income, so she takes a high paying job clearing out the home of a reclusive artist, who is also a compulsive hoarder.  Not only is Marva somewhat difficult to deal with, she's also hiding some major secrets.

I need to come up with a name for a book genre to describe this type of book.  When I say chick lit, I picture a book about a young single girl who shops and looks for love.  When I say women's lit, I think of something more serious, an issue book, like Jodi Picoult or Anna Quindlen.  I like both of those genres, but I also love this third genre that I don't have a name for - books that are less about shopping and fashion and being you and single, but are also not dealing with some serious moral dilemma.  They are lighthearted and humorous, but also deal with more serious life issues than gossiping coworkers or shoe-related dramas.  They usually feature women in their 30's or 40's who aren't just beginning their lives as adults, but they aren't super serious and are usually very humorous.  I just need to come up with a good descriptive word.  Any ideas?  While you think, I'll  review the book, which I loved.

Writing
Exactly what I love to read in this non-genre.  It's funny and witty and smart without being silly or immature.  The characters development is perfect.  I wouldn't say Lucy starts the book not knowing who she is - she's a grown woman and has a definite grasp on her inner workings - but she really learns to take charge throughout the book.  She develops a spine and learns how to be most assertive and active in her decisions, rather than just letting life happen to her.  I love seeing a character change like this in a book, and I think Smolinski does it well.  It happens naturally and gradually, and I really felt like Lucy was a real person - a person I'd love to know. 

Entertainment Value
The author did an amazing job of blending lighthearted humor and a little bit of romance with something that could easily have become an "issue" book.  Hoarding has become something of a pop culture disorder due to all the reality shows about it, and this could have become a serious melodrama really easily.  But Smolinski tempers the seriousness with a lighthearted tone and lovable characters.  Marva, the artist, is also not the typical hoarder that you see on reality shows.  There are no cat skeletons or plates of rotting food.  She has lots of stuff and she is certainly reluctant to get rid of it, but I appreciated that Smolinski kept it in the area of plot device and didn't move it into the central theme of the book.  The characters are what makes this book perfect and they're allowed to shine, which is what made the book great for me.

Narration
No problems with the narrator.  She has a clear voice and reads at a good tempo.  For me, this is the ideal genre to listen to while driving, walking, or cleaning the house.  I'm into the story and I can keep following the plot while doing other things - it's not something so intellectual that I have to devote my entire attention to in order to understand.

I downloaded this one to Overdrive from my local library.

1 comment:

  1. I have this same problem with naming the chick-lit-but-not-chick-lit genre. I recently read Jane Green's The Beach House and felt the same way. This book sounds great though, adding to my TBR.

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