Why did I want to read this book?
I was totally hooked with the book blurb. I haven’t read that many women’s fiction books but this one was really calling out to me. I want to know what Anna does with the rest of her life, what her decisions would be, how she will reconcile everything in her life towards happiness and contentment.
What worked for me?
This was really Anna’s book. I mean, everyone who reads the blurb would know that she’s the main character but it’s only with reading the actual book and following Anna as her life unfolds within those pages that you would really realize that this book is hers. HERS. We see her face the usual aspects of what makes a life, like her career in advertising, her relationship with her friends, her relationship with her family, her love life. There were those few times where I would start to think that I’ve read all of these before in other books, same set-up, same demons to face, so to speak, even familiar characters, but the more I read through the story, the more the realization dawns on me of how all these seeming familiarity actually makes for a unique reading experience for me. This is my first Liza Palmer book and while her writing style is something I had to get used to in the beginning, after passing the 1/3 mark, I was pretty much invested in her achieving her heart’s innermost desires.
I also love the glimpse into the world of advertising that this book gives us. And I love the whole women empowerment theme that Anna and her associate, Sasha had going on with their campaign. They pitched and truly believed in the slogan that they had created for the product, which is to Just Be. It’s about women being able to live every aspect of their life without judgment or reprisal or misplaced expectations and to live life just Being. It’s so inspiring in itself. I love this particular mantra that brought the whole campaign theme to Anna:
“What do I want?
I want to be happy and not feel guilty about it. I want to be curious without being called indulgent. I want to be accepted regardless of what I look like, what I do for a living, my marital status, whether I have kids, or whether you think I’m nice enough, hospitable enough, or humble enough to measure up to your impossible standards. I want purpose. I want contentment. I want to be loved and give love unreservedly in return. I want to be seen. I want to matter. I want freedom.”
And how totally cool that much of the story takes place when Anna and Sasha had to attend a Romance Convention in Texas. So we get all these references to what may or may not happen during these events (sad for me, I haven’t attended any yet since I’m on the other side of the planet) and it was interesting to experience it second-hand through Anna’s eyes. There were discussions on the nature and reception of the romance genre in books and I can just feel the energy there, being a romance lover myself.
In the end, I love taking this whole journey with Anna. I was with her every step of the way, being on the edge of my seat waiting to see if she lands her biggest client to date, cheering her on when she comes up with a great campaign or when she stands up for herself and her friends, hurting for and with her when those moments of loneliness or fear get a little too much and too heavy to bear, being happy for her when she finds herself a chance at love, feeling for her when she starts to learn how to let herself go, how to let herself feel vulnerable, how to let herself just be. Every up and down was so worth it by the end.
What did not work for me?
I wouldn’t exactly call it as something that did not work for me but it took me a little while to get used to Liza Palmer’s writing style. It’s not something that I’m familiar with seeing as this was my first book from her. Especially in the beginning, it was a little bit confusing for me but isn’t hard to get used to.
My over-all take on it?
There are so many things to gush about and to just love about this story. I think the great things about this book for me are all the things and nuggets of wisdom or food for thoughts that I was able to take away after finishing the book. I think there’s a little bit of Anna in all of us and that’s one of the things that I love about her character and why I would think many would be able to relate with her. Plus, she kicks a**. I’m definitely looking forward to checking Liza Palmer’s backlist.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Yes, these are my honest and personal thoughts on this book.
Liza Palmer is the internationally bestselling author of Conversations with the Fat Girl. Conversations with the Fat Girl became an international bestseller its first week in publication, as well as hitting Number 1 on the Fiction Heatseekers List in the UK the week before the book debuted. Conversations with the Fat Girl has been optioned for series by the producers of Rome, Band of Brothers and Generation Kill.
Palmer’s second novel is Seeing Me Naked, which Publisher’s Weekly says, “consider it haute chick lit; Palmer’s prose is sharp, her characters are solid and her narrative is laced with moments of graceful sentiment.”
Her third novel, A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents, which Entertainment Weekly calls a “splendid novel” and Real Simple says “has heart and humor” was released in January 2010.
More Like Her is Palmer’s fourth novel. The book received a starred review from Library Journal in which they said, “The blend of humor and sadness is realistic and gripping, and watching Frannie figure out who she is and what matters is gratifying.”
After earning two Emmy nominations writing for the first season of VH1’s Pop Up Video, she now knows far too much about Fergie.
Palmer’s fifth novel, Nowhere but Home, is about a failed chef who decides to make last meals for the condemned in Texas. Nowhere but Home received the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction for 2013.
Palmer’s sixth novel, Girl Before a Mirror, is the story of Anna Wyatt, a driven ad exec who must attend the annual RomanceCon to land the Romance Novel Cover of Model of the year for Luxe Shower Gel’s spokesman.
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Have you read any of Liza Palmer’s books? I’m eagerly waiting to get my hands on her other books after reading this one.