Friday, May 9, 2008

Review: Certain Girls

Summary: Readers fell in love with Cannie Shapiro, the smart, sharp-tongued, bighearted heroine of Good in Bed who found her happy ending after her mother came out of the closet, her father fell out of her life, and her ex-boyfriend started chronicling their ex-sex life in the pages of a national magazine.

Now Cannie's back. After her debut novel -- a fictionalized (and highly sexualized) version of her life -- became an overnight bestseller, she dropped out of the public eye and turned to writing science fiction under a pseudonym. She's happily married to the tall, charming diet doctor Peter Krushelevansky and has settled into a life that she finds wonderfully predictable -- knitting in the front row of her daughter Joy's drama rehearsals, volunteering at the library, and taking over-forty yoga classes with her best friend Samantha.

As preparations for Joy's bat mitzvah begin, everything seems right in Cannie's world. Then Joy discovers the novel Cannie wrote years before and suddenly finds herself faced with what she thinks is the truth about her own conception -- the story her mother hid from her all her life. When Peter surprises his wife by saying he wants to have a baby, the family is forced to reconsider its history, its future, and what it means to be truly happy.

Radiantly funny and disarmingly tender, with Weiner's whip-smart dialogue and sharp observations of modern life, Certain Girls is an unforgettable story about love, loss, and the enduring bonds of family. -- atria books

I know I'm not alone in saying that I have been a huge Jennifer Weiner fan since GOOD IN BED. I remember laughing out loud at certain parts of the book and then crying at the ending. My book club even read it a few years ago, and we all agreed that it was a terrific book. Having loved GOOD IN BED I wasn't quite sure what to expect with the return of Cannie, but I wasn't disappointed. Once again, I found myself laughing and crying through the story of Cannie and her 12 year old daughter Joy. As a mother of an 8 1/2 year old daughter, I think I related to the mother-daughter relationship between Cannie and Joy in CERTAIN GIRLS. Of course being a teenager way back when, I could definitely see some similarities to the relationship between my mother and me too.

While the book is very easy-to-read, it is not necessarily all that light. The surprise ending brought tears to my eyes as did much of what transpired between Cannie and her daughter throughout the book. I think many moms will relate to Cannie's overprotective nature and her concerns with Joy. I know for sure that I'm a little worried about the "teenage years" with my daughter; however, this book made me take a deeper look at how we treat each other now and how I want our relationship to develop within the next few years.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that CERTAIN GIRLS would make a wonderful Mother's Day gift; or even better, it would make a great discussion for book groups. There are actually two guides available for this book -- one for mothers and one for teens. In addition to the guides, there is a wonderful interview with Ms. Weiner here. I found CERTAIN GIRLS to be such an enjoyable read. I found myself laughing and crying again along with Cannie; however, this time I found that I shared a lot more of her feelings because we have the common experience of being mothers.

Also reviewed at:
Girls Just Reading
Book Club Classics

5 comments:

Nicole said...

I heard alot of good things about Jennifer Weiner. You've got me convinced. I think I'll check out Good in Bed first.

LisaMM said...

I haven't tried her books before but this sounds cute!

Hey, I wanted you to know that your guest post is up at Books on the Brain. Check it out here:

lisamm.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/guest-post-in-praise-of-book-clubs-vol-5/

LisaMM said...

Ooops, one more time:

http://lisamm.wordpress.com/2008/05/09/guest-post-in-praise-of-book-clubs-vol-5/

Julie said...

I LOVED this book. I wasn't sure if I would but JW never disappoint.

Here's my review.
http://girlsjustreading.blogspot.com/2008/04/julies-review-certain-girls.html

Anonymous said...

OK it works... now, I did write something relevant to this post and it was long! I'm sad it got blasted. go ahead and delete all from me, I'll try to actually comment on the post later - gotta run now! (this is just an "I'm here, I read ya" comment... BLOGSPOT HATES ME.)