Book Related Topics, Chick-Lit, Fiction, LGBT, literary fiction, romance

Book Review: The Mutual Friend by Carter Bays

“Being staunch anything is pretty much interchangeable with being an asshole.”

It’s the summer of 2015 and Alice Quick needs to start living up to her potential. She’s publicly announced on Facebook that she’s going to be a doctor, so now she actually has to do it. She’s 28 years old, grieving her mother, barely scraping by as a nanny and now kicked out of her apartment. She has to get her shit together and make a plan to study for the MCAT but in this age of social media and online dating, everything is a distraction.

Her millionaire brother is having a religious awakening. Her sister-in-law has just been diagnosed with Crohn’s and is struggling with all that comes with it. Her new roommate is cosplaying still being in her 20s and loves chaos. Bays writes about one summer in New York encompassing so many different cities and characters tied together by threads unseen.

This book is about 500 pages and if I had gone to Goodreads before picking it up, I don’t think I would have read it. It’s currently 3.85 stars on there and a lot of people report being confused and not “getting” it. I would have missed out on a great book if I hadn’t just picked it up and started reading. I did not realise this book was long until I went to rate it on Goodreads and saw the page count. It read so fast and the pace never slowed for one second.

The first thing you should know about this book: it has a weird narration technique. The narration in the book is choppy and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Bays goes from one character to another without explicitly stating whose point of view we are now hearing from and just expects you to figure it out. If you usually do your books on audio, I don’t know how this one would work, so maybe stick to the pages with this one. After a while, I got so used to it that I stopped noticing it. It was fun for me because I never got the chance to get bored with one character’s story. It made the pace of the book feel so fast and non stop. That said, stick with it. The threads holding all the characters together will be revealed at the end. Even the little things that seem to be just anecdotes from the characters all help to connect everybody in the end.

If you liked How I Met Your Mother, you’re going to like this book. If you think the journey of a story is what makes the ending worth it, then this book is for you. Bays takes such a circuitous path in telling you how to get from point A to point B. Unlike How I Met Your Mother though, this ending is actually super worth it. It fills you with so much warmth that you didn’t expect. I find that a lot of literary writers write about the internet, social media and online dating with such a judgmental, get off your phones tone but there is none of that here. Bays chronicles how we live our lives on and off social media without injecting his personal beliefs into the narrative. The facts are the facts. He’s not trying to get you to do anything other than listen to his story and pay attention to these characters he has created.

I finished this book at 11pm at night and I had to absolutely tweet about it. I mentioned on Twitter that this is a book that is not for everybody but it was definitely for me. It’s like Bays combined everything I love in a book and put it into this one. After I read the end, I was filled with such regret about it ending. I don’t usually re-read books but I think I’m going to re-read this one now that I know all the threads of the story and see if there are any easter eggs I missed. I think you should give this one a chance and stick to it even if you don’t quite get it, I say give it 100 pages and if it’s not for you then it’s not for you. But if it is for you, come talk to me on IG or twitter about it. I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads and I know it’s going to make my top 5 of the year.

Have you heard of this one? Will you consider picking it up? Let me know in the comments.

Leggy

african author, african stories, Fiction, literary fiction, Nigerian Author

Book Review: Dele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro

“That Enitan never got a nickname was a slight she was used to. ‘You attract beauty,’ a boy had told her once, but he had meant this quite literally; she attracted beauty only in the sense that she herself was not beautiful but her two best friends were.”

Funmi, Enitan and Zainab are close friends in Nigeria who met in college. Three women with three different personalities. Funmi is outspoken and brash, Enitan is reserved and Zainab is the pretty one who is also reserved. Life and time happens and the three go from inseparable to their separate ways and are about to be reunited after 30 years for Funmi’s daughter, Dele’s wedding.

Their lives are completely different now. Enitan is about to be divorced from the American man she eloped with and she has to deal with her daughter, Remi who blames her for it. Funmi is married to a wealthy man who pays more attention to his phone than Funmi and Zainab is now caretaker to her husband who has had a series of health issues and is relegated to a wheelchair.

“The ways to die were endless. That’s why you had to live, and live ferociously, and often selfishly and exploitatively, but Funmi did not worry herself about these details. Thinking about life’s unfairness was a fool’s errand. It paralyzed you. It was best to count your blessings and keep it moving.”

I enjoyed this book because it tackled things that were relatable – friendships, death, Nigerian culture, the ebbs and flows of life and more. Obaro did a good job of making this debut effort her own and I appreciated it. It didn’t read like she was trying to pander. I enjoyed the storytelling choice of going back in time to explain the origin of their friendship and all they have been through in the past while also giving their points of view in the present tense with Dele’s wedding as the axis. It didn’t get complicated and was very easy to follow.

In going back in time, I truly enjoyed each woman being fully fleshed characters with full stories. We understood how they became who they were, based on their childhoods and upbringing. I also enjoyed how Obaro infused the political climate and protests from that time period because it infused some Nigerian history while not bogging down the story.

What I did not understand was why the title of this book was called “Dele weds Destiny” when majority of the book truly had nothing to do with Dele. As mentioned earlier, it served only as a plot point that brought the women back together. In fact the main conflict Dele felt was never addressed and the minute it was brought to the light, the book ended. That was annoying. The abruptness of the ending just felt rude. I did not see it coming.

There were a number of loose threads all around the book. I don’t think we got a clear picture of how Zainab feels with life as a caregiver now, Dele wasn’t fleshed out and neither was Remi. Granted, you can’t touch on everything and everyone but don’t introduce them if they have nowhere to go. Overall, it was an easy read and a good book on friendships and the ebbs and flows of life.

Taynement

Fiction, literary fiction, romance, women's fiction

Book Review: Flying Solo by Linda Holmes

“I find the way you approach this exhausting.”

Laurie Sassalyn returns to her Maine hometown of Calcasset to handle the estate of her great-aunt Dot who lived till she was in her nineties. Aunty Dot was a great adventurer who never married and whose life Laurie greatly admired. Still flustered by her canceled wedding and about to turn forty, Laurie dives into cleaning out her aunty’s house and settling her estate. When she finds a mysterious wooden duck at the bottom of a cedar chest, her curiosity is piqued because Dot isn’t a woman who hid beautiful things away. She’s even more intrigued when she comes across a love letter from one of Dot’s ex-boyfriends that ends with the line – “And anyway, if you’re ever desperate, there are always ducks, darling.”

Laurie is told that the duck is worthless so when it’s taken from her in a very unethical way, she wonders why anyone would want a worthless duck. Desperate to uncover the real reason Dot hid away the duck and its origins, Laurie embarks on an adventure that leads her to discover so much about her aunty, her family, her friends and challenges the rules she’s set for her life.

If Holmes’ name sounds familiar to you, it’s because she wrote Evvie Drake Starts Over but this book is nothing like that. Her first book was a purely romance novel but Flying Solo is more women’s fiction. If you ever wonder what the general consensus of what publishers consider women’s fiction, just read this book, it ticks every box.

Laurie has decided that she does not want to get married and she does not want kids. She likes living alone and coming back to her hometown in Maine gives her a chance to confront the choices she has made for herself. Cleaning out her aunt’s house gives her a chance to see her future clearly and helps her wonder who will be doing the clean out of her house when she dies childless. Also complicating her future is her ex boyfriend who is now twice as hot and is the librarian in their small town. He wants all the things Laurie doesn’t want – for her to move back to Maine and marry him.

This book was an easy read but the quote at the top of this post is how I felt about Laurie. She never got off her soap box. I found her exhausting, she reminded us every 3 minutes that she wants to live alone and never have kids. I really enjoyed how her best friend called her out on how judgmental she came off to people like her who had chosen the traditional path of getting married and having kids.

I liked the overall message that romance does not need to fit into any box to be legitimate and good but I still felt that the romance in this book felt very one sided with Laurie holding all the cards. But who knows? Maybe I’m so used to seeing women compromise for men that it just felt off to me to see a woman get everything she wanted without having to ever bend? This is one of those books you pick up if it’s available in your library or the paperback goes on sale. It’s an easy read that I doubt I’d remember by the end of the year.

Leggy

Fiction, literary fiction

Book Review: One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle

Katy’s mother, Carol has just died and she is struggling really badly because she was very close to her mom. She went to her for everything and didn’t make a decision without her mother’s input. Before her mother passed, they had planned a trip to Positano, Italy. A place her mother spent time in when she was younger. Katy decides to stick to the plan and go there alone leaving her husband in limbo as she also tells him she needs a break.

The new environment doesn’t help Katy feel better as she reminisces on her marriage and focuses on how young they were and how stale things have become. She slowly embraces the beautiful scenery and food and also meets a man named Adam, who shows her around town.

The story switches gears when she meets a woman named Carol – yes, it’s her mother at 30 years old. Desperate to have any connection to her mother, she doesn’t question what is happening and she latches on to Carol, hanging out with her everyday and taking her in. Katy gets a glimpse of her mother’s life before she was born and realizes that there was more to her than just being Katy’s emergency contact.

“What got you here won’t get you there.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect but I enjoyed this book. It was an easy and quick read for me. The best thing about the book was the fact that you could tell that Serle has been to Italy and enjoyed it immensely. She painted a hella vivid picture of Positano and the other cities Katy visited. The views, the weather, the buildings, the food. Everything made you feel like you could see and taste it even though you aren’t physically there (the hotel Katy stayed in is a real hotel).

Things I didn’t care much for – When Katy first stumbles across Carol, I thought it was a side effect of missing her mom so much and she was hallucinating. As I read further and realized she was really interacting with her actual mother at 30 years old, I was like errr…what is happening? I’ll save you the thought – we never find out. I think the expectation was to just go along with it and follow Katy’s perspective as she realizes her mother was a whole human before she became her mother.

“My mother, you see, is the great love of my life.”

Katy seeing this perspective is important because of how much she idolized her mom. I would like to start by saying that I understand grief and I understood Katy’s but she seemed a little codependent on her mom. The way she described it, she never made a decision without her mom’s input even to the detriment of her marriage because she put her mom’s opinions over his and in general she had no decision making skills. At some point, someone asks her what she wants and she couldn’t answer.

“I hope you’ll understand someday that just because you become a mother doesn’t mean you stop being a woman.”

Katy saw herself as the love of her mother’s life and interacting with her 30 year old mom and seeing she had a full life that didn’t involve her and a love interest that wasn’t her dad was difficult for her. Which brings me to my other point, I found Katy very unlikeable. She was childish and selfish. Besides her weird attachment to her mother, I hated how she treated her husband.

I read that the author is close to her mother (who is alive) and her biggest fear is losing her, so in some way this book was her, working through her fears. There are more stories in the book and they managed to keep me intrigued. I will say that this is the first book that I liked despite an unlikeable character.

Taynement

Book Related Topics, Chick-Lit, Fiction, literary fiction, movie related topics, romance

Book Review: Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan

Nora Hamilton is a romance channel screenwriter. She knows the formula for a corny romance novel – two people have a meet cute, fall in love, 90% into the movie they fight and the man leaves, then 99% into the movie the man comes back and they live happily ever after. She’s been churning these out her entire career and taking care of her children plus free loading husband. When Nora’s marriage falls apart, she turns the story of the breakup into a screenplay that gets picked up by a big Hollywood director complete with a star studded Hollywood cast including former Sexiest Man Alive, Leo Vance who plays her ex-husband. Her tea house is a huge character in the story so the director asks to film in her house.

The morning after shooting wraps and the crew leaves, Nora finds Leo on her porch with a half-empty bottle of tequila and a proposition. He’ll pay a thousand dollars a day to stay for a week. The $7000 would give Nora enough cushion till she goes back to writing her generic romance movies for the romance channel (which honestly is so clear that the author is referring to the Hallmark channel), so she says yes. 7 days might be just enough time for them to get to know each, enough time for them to fall in love or enough time for him to never want to leave but love never adheads to a formula.

This is one of my favorite romance books of the year. I absolutely loved it. The characters are older and more mature so their relationship wasn’t bugged down by superfluous things. Nora’s kids were great additions to this book, they were charming and felt like kids. I absolutely believed the progression of Nora and Leo’s relationship. Nora was smart and intelligent and yet still felt human and relatable. Her fears and insecurities made sense to me. Also, the way Nora handled the end of her previous relationship and her attitude towards it was really well written. I understood all her choices. I also loved how all the supporting cast were extremely different and yet were still very likable people.

I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads because I don’t think Nora protected her children enough from her new relationship. I felt like she was very selfish in the way she let Leo get embroidered into her family so quickly without giving a thought to how her kids would feel if they’re left by yet another man. It seemed so out of character for Nora to not think explicitly of how being with Leo while he was basically living with her would affect her kids.

All in all, I really loved this book. If you’ve read Book Lovers then give this one a shot. Apparently the secret to writing Ephron-esque rom coms is to just name your female protagonist Nora? Pick up this one y’all, it was absolutely delightful!

Have you read this one? Let me know in the comments. Also, if you have any book dups for this, let me know! I think I’ve found my romance sweet spot.

Leggy

Fiction, literary fiction, romance, thriller

Book Review: Verity by Colleen Hoover

Lowen Ashleigh is going through an eventful time in her life. Her mom has just died from cancer and the first time she dares venture outside her apartment for a work meeting since her death, a man is hit by a bus in front of her. Lowen is a writer. A struggling writer. She likes her private life, doesn’t do promo and just hasn’t had a lot of opportunities. Her work meeting is an offer by Jeremy Crawford, husband to the best selling author, Verity Crawford.

Verity has written a successful series but is unable to continue as she has sustained injuries from a car accident. Lowen is offered the opportunity to finish out the series for a substantial amount of money. She is also offered the chance to live at the Crawford residence to go over Verity’s notes and outlines for the series which is good timing since she is about to be evicted.

Lowen accepts, moves in with Jeremy, Verity and their lone surviving son and uncovers a whole lot more about Jeremy and Verity’s relationship while also developing feelings for Jeremy. We also get to learn more about Lowen’s past.

I have mentioned before that I am a newbie to Colleen Hoover. This is only my second book of hers with the first being It Ends With Us. I was told that that was a departure from her usual writing style but this is apparently also a departure as well. Hoover wrote this book independently from her contract (which makes it free on Kindle Unlimited!)

All that to say that I really enjoyed this book. I have been in a reading slump but this kept me intrigued and turning the pages. There was soooo much going on in this book. So many stories but Hoover found a way to not make it complicated. It was very meta because we are reading a book about a writer writing a book that is reading notes on another book that was being written for a writer by another writer (clap for yourself if this made sense to you haha!)

To make things clearer, I’ll reveal that while going through the notes, Lowen discovers Verity’s autobiography which becomes part of the story that we read along with her. This is where we find out about the couple and somehow the book becomes a thriller and I started guessing what happened (I was wrong). I should also let you know that there are a lot of sex scenes in the book that I have to say was well done. Not too smarmy and not too childish/prudish.

I didn’t quite like the ending but honestly it was not so bad considering the many plot threads in the book. I didn’t quite buy the feasibility of Verity’s storyline 100% but you know…creative liberties. It didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book. I completely recommend this book and it was an easy and quick read.

Have you read this one? Which book of hers do you recommend I read next?

Taynement

Chick-Lit, Fiction, literary fiction, romance

Book Review: The Unsinkable Greta James by Jennifer E. Smith

“It’s a particularly strange kind of loss, when something you don’t think you even want gets taken away from you.”

Three months after Greta James’ mother dies, she has an onstage meltdown a couple weeks before the release of her long awaited sophomore album. Trying to outrun the humiliation and self doubt, she agrees to accompany her father on an Alaskan cruise. A cruise that her father and mother had looked forward to for months and one they booked to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Greta has spent her entire career trying to prove her practical father wrong. Her mother, Helen, had been at every bar, every performance, cheering her on but her father, Conrad, had always felt that she should do something more practical and steady with her life.

“Maybe the point isn’t always to make things last. Maybe it’s just to make them count.”

This is essentially a father-daughter story. Greta and her father feel so lost after the death of Helen and they’re both trying to grief the best way they know how. On the trip is also 4 of her parents’ friends, two couples that her mother had convinced to come on the trip with them. This Alaskan trip becomes a chance for father and daughter to hash out their differences including talking about the infamous song she wrote about him. It was quite heartbreaking to see a man who loved his wife very much have to deal with her passing and still be subjected to the trip they had both wanted to go on for so long.

“It’s like that feeling of getting off a long flight and taking your first breath of fresh air. You were okay on the plane. You could breathe just fine. And you could survive like that for a pretty long time if you had to. But once you’re off, you realize you wouldn’t want to live that way forever. Not if you had a choice.”

Ben Wilder is also struggling with a major upheaval in his life. He has come on the cruise as an expert historian on Jack London’s The Call of the Wild, an adventure story Greta’s mum had loved so much. He’s here to give lectures as part of the entertainment offered on the cruise. Him and Greta hit it off on the boat but they live completely different lives in the real world and this might be the only time they can enjoy the bubble of being with each other.

“The truth is, being a parent is mostly just reacting. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don’t. You give what you can. And at the end of the day, most of it is just being there.”

When I grabbed this book, I expected it to be a deeply emotional read about a father and daughter trying to reconnect after they lose someone very important to them. While this is what this book is meant to be, I actually did not find it emotional at all. It was hard for me to connect with any of the characters in the book and I found the romance on the side a little distracting especially as it did not have a very satisfying conclusion. I never felt fully invested in any of the characters or the story. I never bought into the main character being a Rockstar plus I found her to be quite immature and angsty for her age. I wonder if because Smith usually writes YA books and this is her first adult novel, if some of that teenage angst bled into someone who’s supposed to be in her 30s.

I still think this is an easy read. I read this all in one day and while it may not stay with me past this year, it was a solid 3 star book for me. If you’ve been postponing this one because you’re worried it might be too heavy for you, I promise that it is not at all heavy.

Have you read this? What did you think? Have a happy reading week everybody!

Leggy

Fiction, literary fiction

Book Review: We Are The Brennans by Tracey Lange

Sunday Brennan is a 29 year old woman living in Los Angeles, California. 5 years ago, she up and left her family and boyfriend, Kale – who is practically a member of the Brennan family – without an explanation. One day, she wakes up and finds herself in a hospital, banged up pretty bad. She drank too much and got into an accident. Her emergency contact is her brother, Denny Brennan, the oldest child of the Brennan clan. He is back in New York with the rest of her family. Denny flies in to California and convinces Sunday to come back to New York to recuperate.

Sunday tries to get into a routine at home. Denny is planning to open a second bar with his best friend and Sunday’s former flame, Kale. Speaking of Kale, he is now married to Vivienne and they have a 4 year old son. As time passes and the unanswered question of why she left lingers among her siblings and Kale, secrets from the past resurfaces and collide with secrets from the present.

I love family dramas. They usually come with large families that are almost always dysfunctional so I was looking forward to this. It did not disappoint but I felt it was just okay. Despite having a long list of characters, Lange does a good job with writing and weaving their stories together. Each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective but each chapter begins with the last sentence from the previous chapter and I just thought that was such a pretty cool writing party trick because that had to be very difficult to do.

Slow build ups can be exhausting because you are just like “can we just get to it?!” This wasn’t an exception but it was not as annoying as it usually is because I actually enjoyed getting to learn about the Brennans starting from their parents coming from Ireland and building a life in America. Also, the family had so many secrets that it was like finding easter eggs along the way and being like “oooh, well that happened”

I think at a certain point, especially after a number of reveals, it was time for the book to be wrapped up but it didn’t wrap up when it should have. I hope this makes sense but as much as many things happened to the Brennans and the secrets they held, they felt like…boring people. Like, who were they besides the hand life dealt them. After learning about Sunday, her getting drunk and getting into an accident didn’t gel with what we had learned about her as a person.

I described this book as just okay earlier but it got a lot of hype in the book world. I think it’s definitely a mood read. It’s an easy read and with the good writing, it goes down easy.

Taynement

Book Related Topics, Chick-Lit, Fiction, literary fiction, romance

Book Review: Book Lovers by Emily Henry

“That’s the thing about women. There’s no good way to be one. Wear your emotions on your sleeve and you’re hysterical. Keep them tucked away where your boyfriend doesn’t have to tend to them and you’re a heartless bitch.”

Nora Stephens is an amazing book agent. She gets her clients the best deals and is called “The Shark” behind her back for her ruthlessness. The only person who matters to Nora is Libby, her little sister and her family. Nora has been taking care of Libby since their mother died and is determined to make sure that Libby keeps living a stress free life even though Libby is now married with two kids and another one on the way.

This is why Nora agrees to visit Sunshine Falls, North Carolina with her sister in order to destress before the baby comes. Small towns are not her thing but she has promised Libby two weeks of uninterrupted sister bonding time including completing a list of small town romance cliches while they’re there.

“That’s life. You’re always making decisions, taking paths that lead you away from the rest before you can see where they end. Maybe that’s why we as a species love stories so much. All those chances for do-overs, opportunities to live the lives we’ll never have.”

Instead of bumping into a smart and funny but totally hot farmer while living in the small town, Nora keeps bumping into Charlie Lastra, an editor from the city who is in Sunshine Falls to take care of his aging parents and whip their affairs into shape. Charlie and Nora have met many times before but always on days when they both weren’t bringing their best to the world, so this presents a chance for them to start over and get to know each other as people not as an editor and agent.

“Maybe love shouldn’t be built on a foundation of compromises, but maybe it can’t exist without them either. Not the kind that forces two people into shapes they don’t fit in, but the kind that loosens their grips, always leaves room to grow. Compromises that say, there will be a you-shaped space in my heart, and if your shape changes, I will adapt.”

I have unwittingly become an Emily Henry completist and every book of hers just keeps getting better. I’m actually scared to read her next book because I don’t see how she can keep this momentum forever. Henry reminds me of Nora Ephron so much. Her characters have depth and interact in ways that you can see why they would fall in love. Nora and Charlie are my favorite characters of hers till date. They are smart, older and know exactly what they want in life. They both know they don’t want to have kids and there is no grand announcement about why. It’s stated as a matter of fact and moved on from.

The banter between the two characters is smart and just snappy. It is the banter I have in my head when I picture the perfect relationship back and forth between two smart and well read people. I also like that Henry didn’t lean into the enemies to lovers trope. In my opinion, they were never enemies. They just had a bad work meeting that they both put behind them, so it was so easy to see how they’d meet in another context and get along very well.

“Not every decision a woman makes is some grand indictment on other women’s lives.”

As much as this is a romance book, the best thing about Emily Henry’s books is that it’s never just about the romance. At the core of this book is a sister relationship. Nora and Libby have a very codependent relationship with Nora thinking she can shield her sister from all the hurt in the world. At first, I was very annoyed by this relationship and every time they would come up, I just wanted to go back to the amazing banter between the two main characters. But as the book unraveled and I got the backstory of their relationship and how young they both were when their mother died and the circumstances surrounding their mother’s death, I understood why Nora felt so responsible for an actual adult with a thriving family of her own now. The resolution to the sister relationship was very organic and satisfying.

“Can’t think of a greater symbol of hope than a person who’s willing to drag themselves out of bed and sing at the top of their lungs to a group of strangers trapped on a train. That tenacity should be rewarded.”

You know how at the 85-90% mark of every romance book, the main characters have some unresolved conflict then they break up before finally coming back together to give us the happily ever after we lovers of romance read these books for? This is the first time that I actually thought the conflict reflected real life. The circumstances surrounding their conflict was very mature and I could see why that would come up because they had already talked about it before they began their “relationship” so when it came up, I wasn’t surprised. Just grateful that Henry thinks very highly of her readers to sell us some silly conflict that doesn’t even make sense with the characters she has created.

“The last-page ache. The deep breath in after you’ve set the book aside.”

That quote is exactly how I felt when I completed this book. If you’ve read People We Meet on Vacation and loved it, I promise you that this book is even better. Anyway, I really liked this one. I gave this 4 stars on Goodreads.

Leggy

celebrity memoir, Memoirs, Non-Fiction

Book Review – Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of “The View” by Ramin Setoodeh

The View is one of the longest running daytime talk shows hosted by a panel of women. Created by vet, Barabara Walters, it was the first of its kind at the time. Over the years, the show has gone through numerous hosts and public and private drama. Ladies Who Punch with interviews from almost all the hosts (in fact, all the hosts except for Elisabeth Hasselbeck) explores the behind the scenes drama and revisits the drama the public knew about.

You know, I am never quite sure what genre to classify these sort of books in (Read: Not All Diamonds and Rose, The Housewives etc) but I think they have shot up to the top of my list of favorite genres. These books basically read like reality shows and as a fan of reality shows and memoirs, it should be no surprise. I always welcome a peek behind the curtains on the actual personas of celebrities vs. the public personas we get.

All this to say, I truly enjoyed this book and it came at a good time as a palate cleanser. It was such an interesting feeling recounting some of the drama or notable episodes that I remembered and hearing what the true stories were about. I stopped watching The View many years ago, so everything read as new. I felt like I was just learning about Barbara Walters for the first time (might I add I wonder a lot about where she is these days?)

It was also interesting to learn just how much the crew HATED Rosie O’ Donnell. I used to love Rosie’s show back in the day, so learning this other side to her was new. On the flip, in the book, Whoopi seems to have rated highly with viewers in focus groups but arguably didn’t come off so great in the book. Star Jones seemed to take accountability for her mistakes and Meredith Viera seemed to genuinely be a sweetheart. In some way, The View played a part in Donald Trump being President (don’t ask me how lol) but he is featured a lot in the book.

Overall, if you are into behind the scenes and let’s call it what it is – gossip – then this is the right book for you. I will say that I hesistate to call it gossip because Setoodeh comes with straight facts and a lot of what is in the book is straight from the horse’s mouth with people backing up what was being said. He speaks a little with Meghan McCain who he has known for a while but we interestingly get nothing from Sunny Hostin. I wonder why…?

Taynement