REVIEW: Dangled Carat – Hilary Grossman

Dangled Carat Book Cover Dangled Carat
Hilary Grossman
Memoir, Chick Lit

For every girl who wondered if she should love him or dump him.....

For every girl who listened to her heart instead of her friends advice....

For every girl who l wondered if she was wasting her time dating that guy....

meet Hilary....

She had gotten used to dating the commitment-phobic Marc, thirteen years her senior. They had a great relationship--why rush into things? She saw no need to pressure him for marriage, believing that when the time was right, he would propose. But after they had been together for four years, their friends decided to take matters into their own hands, pushing Marc to propose and making Hilary realise how much she really did want to marry the man that she loved. Unfortunately, Marc still wasn't ready--and their friends' meddling in the form of a faux engagement party led to a disastrous New Year's Eve that brought their relationship to an inevitable turning point.

I received a copy of Dangled Carat from Hilary Grossman in exchange for my honest opinion.

I loved this book, and so will any woman who’s waited years for her significant other to whip out a diamond ring. Dangled Carat is immediately more riveting than your usual chick lit book, as it’s all true!

This book could have been a little depressing – a story about how a woman is desperate to marry her partner but can’t get him to commit. However, Grossman’s tongue-in-cheek retelling of how she waited (somewhat) patiently for her man to be ready for marriage – while all of his family and friends not so subtly tried to convince him to pop the question – was witty and emotive.

Grossman moves fluidly between past and present as she remembers her long path to marriage. She also manages to write about a partner who refuses to marry her without painting a picture of a man that women would immediately hate. In fact, the reader grows to like Marc – and, although his commitment issues aren’t explained n depth, understand his reasons for moving through relationship markers at a glacial pace.

Personally, this book struck a cord with me; my boyfriend and I have been dating five years, but due to money, medical issues and studies, marriage isn’t on the horizon for years to come. Funnily enough, I’m probably the more commitment phobic of the two of us, but I still recognise much of what Hilary felt (ok, having read her memoir, I feel that we’re buddies now and I can use her first name!). For some reason, a ring seems to offer some reassurance that a partner won’t suddenly up and leave us… In reality, a ring make little difference these days, but the symbolism still means a great deal to many women.

Well-written, funny and with a cast of excellent supporting characters – who the author is lucky enough to know and love in real life – I would recommend this book to any chick lit or memoir lover. A little more truthful and different than a typical summer beach read, this is one for the women out there who get a little tired of reading the same story over and over again. Get a copy of Dangled Carat here or here! I’d love to know what you think of it.

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REVIEW: ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened’ – Jenny Lawson

Let's Pretend This Never Happened Book Cover Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Jenny Lawson

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humour in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives.

There’s no doubt that Jenny Lawson has had some hilarious moments in her life – many involving various poultry or wild animals. However, instead of turning these anecdotes into a witty memoir, Lawson decided to write her biography in a jumbled, word-vomit way. For me, that really ruined it.

While I found myself smiling at the ridiculous stories, I more often found myself frustrated with endless run on sentences, and Lawson’s babbling. It seemed to me that she was insecure about where she came from, almost nervous and over-compensating with a false sense of bravado. I also found the ‘Editor’s Notes’ rather trite and forced; they didn’t add anything to the story, being included in the way they were.

From a formatting point of view, I found the footnotes frustrating, as on an e-book they all just show up in a list at the end of the text, so are fairly useless. Perhaps something for authors to keep in mind, given the ebook market is flourishing.

Overall, I think what could have been a very entertaining read was spoiled by a lack of editing, and a decision to write so loosely. I personally hadn’t heard of Lawson before reading this, and can’t say that I’ll go looking for more of her work now. That said, from other reviews I have read, many people seem to enjoy what she has to say… and if you don’t believe me, feel free to find out for yourself. Check it out here or here. If nothing else, there’s an amusing mouse in a cape and with a rapier on the front cover!


Literary-Junkies-ButtonAnd now for this month’s Literary Junkies Question Round-up!

1. What are you reading right now? Tell us about it!

To be honest, I was a little late finishing Let’s Pretend This Never Happened – I only finished it this morning! So I haven’t started anything new yet.

2. What books are on your bedside table at the moment?

There are no books on my bedside table… my mother holds firm that a house isn’t clean unless it looks like nobody lives here (she doesn’t actually say that, but it’s true – our house is crazy tidy). So, no books lying lazily around!

3. Amazon recently released the 100 books to read in a lifetime. What did they miss that you would add?

I think their 100 books are a pretty good start! Having read it, I’ll be adding a few to my list of Books to Read Before I Die – and there are some on my list that Amazon missed!  Check mine out to see what I think are the must-reads.

4. Are there any books being published in 2014 that you are anxiously awaiting?  If so, what are they?

I’m looking forward to The Little Beach Street Bakery – Jenny Colgan, and  the paperback edition of Quintana of Charyn – Melina Marchetta. I’m one of those crazy types that need all of their books to match, so I have to wait for the paperback to be released! Other than these two, there are plenty of books I’m waiting for, but I have no idea when to expect them!

5. Name the next 3 books in your To Be Read List (the ones you will be reading next on your list.)

First on the list is the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth; I have to read them before the movie comes out! Then, I’ll be reading and reviewing Bangkok Transit – Eva Fejos for Fictionella. After that, I think it will possibly be Blind Spot – Terri Persons, but that’s a week or so away yet, so I may have changed my mind by then!

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