“Eva Perino is single and proud of it. Owner of The Grounds, a coffee shop nestled in the heart of a college town, thirtysomething Eva cherishes her comfortable life filled with quirky friends, a fun job, and no significant other. In fact, she’s so content to be on her own that she started a blog about it: “Why I Love Singlehood.” Yet when she hears the news of her ex-boyfriend’s engagement, her confidence in her single status takes a surprisingly hard hit.
So begins Eva’s clumsy (and occasionally uproarious) search for love as she secretly joins an online dating site, tries her hand at speed-dating, and breaks her own rule by getting involved with one of The Grounds’ regulars. Soon Eva is forced to figure out exactly who—or what—is the true love of her life. Sparkling with warmth and wit, Why I Love Singlehood is a charming and insightful must-read for anyone—single or otherwise—who has ever been stymied by love.”
First off, let me say that this is less of a book review and more of an expression of my own disgust with myself for wasting hours of my life reading this book. Luckily, since I own a Kindle, I was able to borrow the book through the lending library, saving myself .99 cents off of the digital copy price. Traditional format readers, in comparison, might spend as much as $13.95 for a paperback of the book.
I enjoy reading what they used to call “dime-store novels” – silly little bodice rippers, sci-fi/fantasy romances, murder mysteries, and other quick reads just perfect for picking up at the drug store and finishing in a night or two. There’s something reassuring in a simple storyline, characters that have some depth but not too much to get your brain past first gear, a few scares or romantic scenes or whatever little excitements it takes to get the blood rushing just a bit, then it’s over (typically with a happy ending) and you get back to your life. I’ve read hundreds of crappy little love stories in my time, and there’s typically one big thing that ties them all together: they’re not written particularly well. And that’s totally OK.
Unless you write a book in first person, in which the protagonist herself is an author, and that author also pens several writings that are printed within the book. Wait…that’s a little hard to follow. Let’s back up. The book is written in first person, from the eyes of main character Eva. Eva is a published author and ex-college professor. She also writes a blog about being single, and the blog entries are printed in the book. They’re not good. They are, in fact, as bad (or maybe worse) than my writing in this blog. Crappy blog entries in a book could be totally fine – that’s realistic! However, when the crappy blog entries are written by a professional author, and said author also pauses within the story to note how good of a job they’ve done on writing the blog entries, something’s gone terribly wrong. It felt self-congratulatory on the part of the actual authors of the book, not Eva, and since the appreciation was unfounded, it was laughable.
The rest of the story is OK. A little convoluted, a lot formulaic, completely missing detail in the parts that matter (Eva’s family life should have been much more flushed out – that story alone could have been a NY Times pick if handled correctly). Since I’m from the coast of NC, the novel’s setting in Wilmington was a great change for me. I got a great feel for the places in the book, but the characters were flat, and the main character ended up lacking the depth to make her seem relatable, and making choices that seemed to neither fit the emotional difficulties she was facing as a result of a troubled past, nor truly fit a pattern that made sense for her present day life.
Oh, yeah, and in the first couple of pages of the book, two couples are introduced. I laughed out loud when I read their names. Get this – one couple’s names are Jan and Dean (ever heard that song, The Little Old Lady from Pasadena?). The other couple are Spencer and Tracey. Sigh.
In all, I’d give this a 2 out of 5 stars.