Summary: Ann Redding has taken every lousy thing life has thrown at her and handled it very well, thank you very much. All she wants is to get her life back on track...but that won't happen till she makes her worried family and friends back off by spending two weeks at Camp Kinsonu, a retreat for suddenly single women. Now she's stuck sitting around a campfire, singing "I Am Woman" with a bunch of sandal-clad, makeup-boycotting women. If she doesn't get out of there soon, they'll be sizing her for Birkenstocks.
Kinsonu, an idyllic retreat on the coast of Maine, is supposed to be a place for new hope and new beginnings. But Ann doesn't belong in an estrogen Eden, she belongs in a corporate boardroom. Still, the camp has its compensations—she's grudgingly befriended some other "inmates," including Cindy, who honestly believes she's just killing time till her serial-cheating husband comes crawling back. And Martha, shy, overweight, and mysteriously silent about the man she's there to get over.
Maybe it was fate that brought them together at Camp Kinsonu, maybe just bad luck. But three strangers are about to bond on an adventure they didn't ask for—and discover that lives they thought were as good as it got could suddenly get a lot better. -- Avon A
I received an ARC of AS GOOD AS IT GOT by Isabel Sharpe from the Harper Collins First Look Program. I thought it sounded like a potential book club pick because it told the story of three women who are trying to heal after losing the men in their lives. They travel to a camp in Maine which is designed to help them recover -- of course, none of the women feel as if they "need" to be there. I figured that there would be lots of opportunities for some good soul-searching and discovery for each of the women that would make for a heart-warming read.
I have to admit that this book was just okay for me. I can't say that I didn't enjoy parts of it, but I probably wouldn't select it for a book club pick. This book was much more what I think of as a "beach or vacation book" than a book that my book club would want to talk about. I think if I had started the book with different expectations, I might have enjoyed it more.
One of my main problems with this story was that I couldn't really relate to any of the three women or their situations -- maybe that's why I didn't love it. I felt that the women and their relationships were pretty much stereotypes. Having said that, I bet that many women who have lost their significant others might really see parts of themselves in these characters and find inspiration in this book.
One thing I did like about this book was the humor that the author was able to use with each of the characters. Despite the sad situations that each of the women were dealing with, I found myself laughing at their behavior at Camp Kinsonu. I especially found myself shaking my head at the character of Cindy -- the woman whose husband was a serial cheater. Not only was she in major denial, but her inability to do anything right at the camp was kind of funny to me (although I eventually did feel bad for her.) I also thought it was entertaining when the women got stranded on an island and began sharing their "encounters" with one of the male camp counselors.
Another thing I liked about the book was the message that the reader was left with at the end of the story. It was very interesting for each of these women to see themselves outside of their relationships and discover their own inner strengths. All three women felt like their lives were pretty good prior to the end of their relationships; however, by the end of the camp, they all found that it was possible for their lives to be even better without these men. After I finished the book, I was left with a happy feeling about the resilience of women when faced with sad situations.
AS GOOD AS IT GOT is the second Avon A book that I've read recently with an A+ Author Insights, Extras, & More section in the back -- in this book, there is an interview with the author Isabel Sharpe. She gives a some insight into the setting of the novel as well as some additional information about the characters. I've noticed that a lot of publishers are adding sections like this to their books, and I really enjoy reading them.
If you are looking for an entertaining, quick summer read, you might want to take a look at AS GOOD AS IT GOT. The book will be in stores on June 24th.
I just happen to have an extra ARC copy of AS GOOD AS IT GOT that I'd like to share with one of you. Please leave a comment with your e-mail address if you are interested in winning a copy of this book. If you'd like to double your chances, please mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post. The contest will be open until Friday, July 4th at 11:59 p.m. EST. Sorry, but the contest is open to US and Canadian citizens only. I will announce the winner on July 5th.
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