Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Real Liddy James: A Book Review

Don't let the confusion of the opening pages stop your reading. It will become clear soon enough, after you've stumbled over the clunky bits of backstory that make for a rough go. Read on, and you'll be glad you stayed around to meet Liddy James and the cast of characters who share her life.

The story of the high-powered divorce attorney is told with a touch of humour, as Liddy's carefully crafted world starts falling to pieces around her head. She has left her hardscrabble, offspring-of-Irish-immigrants-past behind and presents an image of success, albeit one that is grounded in New York City materialism. She has the private car, the driver, the luxurious flat, and a brilliant career, but she comes to see that it isn't all that after all.

Her teenaged son has grown moody and recalcitrant, her second son (paternity backstory is well done) needs his mother but she isn't much of a mother because she has the nanny and her ex-husband and her ex's live-in lover to manage the kids in their way, one that is not in keeping with Liddy's prescriptive book on the subject. And by the way, the live-in lover is pregnant and wants to quit her job to raise the child, much to the horror of Liddy's ex. 

Liddy goes off the deep end and runs back to Ireland to find her true self, back to the land of her birth, and it's there that she finds the real Liddy James.

Takes a handsome son of the auld son to push her along, and doesn't prove how brilliant Anne-Marie Casey is as an author?

The story is pure fluff but it's entertaining, and isn't that what you want in a novel?

Read it with your book group, and then argue over the message of the story. Is the key to happiness the abandonment of riches, like the nuns beat into our hard heads? Is the author channeling her inner Roman Catholic with the way she closes the novel? Open up another bottle of wine and discuss.

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