Book Review: More Like Her by Liza Palmer
May 3, 2012 11 Comments
Number of pages: 310
First published: 2012 (April)
Genre: contemporary fiction
I got this book: for review from William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins
Don’t we always think other people are more beautiful, richer and have a better life than us? Well, I sometimes do. Then I console myself by thinking that this lady’s husband might be a soccer fan (shudder!) or that nice-looking lady would probably look awful without all that make-up.
Anyway, that’s what this book is about: what you see is not always the reality.
More Like Her: What it is about
From the publisher’s website: “To Francis the height of female perfection is Emma Dunham. She’s beautiful, successful, and has the most thoughtful and handsome husband on the planet. Emma is everything that Francis, recently dumped with spectacular drama by her boyfriend, wants to be. Her fellow teachers—Lisa, a professional so career focused she doesn’t have time for a family, and Jill, whose unexpected pregnancy may hold devastating consequences for her marriage—think so too.
But what Francis, Lisa, and Jill don’t know is that Emma has a secret. Her home life is nothing like the suburban postcard it seems. [I've taken out the spoiler part - this bit occurs about half-way the book]
In the aftermath, the trio of friends realizes they must come to terms with the secrets of their own lives. Yet how can they pick up the pieces and move forward when they know that everything they’ve counted on and believed in is nothing like what it seems?”
More Like Her: What I thought
This was an enjoyable, quick read. Frances is a believable single, whose live-in boyfriend left the relationship not so long ago and she is wondering with every man she encounters whether this will be the new ‘him’. If you think “how silly!”, I can tell you “been there, done it”. She comes across a builder, Sam, who is working on an extension of the school that she works at. She likes him (a lot) but is she just an interlude for him? Now, I agree (with what I think some people might say) that a woman shouldn’t (and isn’t) always be on the look-out for a husband, but at some point, dating this and that person can be a bit tedious and you want to have some idea of your chances before committing to more dates.
Anyway, the main story is probably not that, but the story of Emma, the headmistress. She’s new and Frances at first thinks she’s too cool and impersonal, but later warms to her and they start to become friends. But not for long, because it seems Emma’s life isn’t quite so perfect.
Frances, Jill, and Lisa have to try and come to terms with a terrible ordeal, to say nothing of Sam, who was even more directly involved. Frances changes for the better, though, and shows another side of herself.
While I enjoyed the book (and read it in one weekend), I did find fault with the book: for a better effect, Frances should have looked up more to Emma. As it was, this was left between the lines too much. Also, Lisa, who was new at the school, made best friends with Frances and Jill at break-neck speed. How does that work?
One more complaint is that I didn’t find the characters 100% convincing in the aftermath of the ordeal they went through. Sam didn’t talk about it, full-stop, that was fine, but the others seem to play their role only when it suited the particular storyline that was focused on at any time.
Having said that, I did enjoy reading this book (4 stars!). It has some life lessons for us all – in an non-obtrusive way – and for that, I like it a lot.
Extra: Have you come across romantic interests called Sam? It happened in I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella as well as in this book (which I both read within the space of the same week).