Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: Here I Go Again

Summary: Twenty years after ruling the halls of her suburban Chicago high school, Lissy Ryder doesn’t understand why her glory days ended. Back then, she was worshipped...beloved...feared. Present day, not so much. She’s been pink-slipped from her high-paying job, dumped by her husband and kicked out of her condo. Now, at thirty-seven, she’s struggling to start a business out of her parents’ garage and sleeping under the hair-band posters in her old bedroom.

Lissy finally realizes karma is the only bitch bigger than she was. Her present is miserable because of her past. But it’s not like she can go back in time and change who she was...or can she? -- New American Library

Right smack dab in the final weeks of my training for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I was feeling a little stressed -- okay, a lot of stressed! I decided that I needed to read a fun novel; and based on Kathy's recommendation, I picked up HERE I GO AGAIN by Jen Lancaster. I've only read one or two of Ms. Lancaster's books, but I know that she's pretty darn funny.

HERE I GO AGAIN has a really cute premise. Lissy Ryder's best days just might be behind her. She's twenty years out of high school, and her high school sweetheart has just told her that he wants a divorce. To add insult to injury, Lissy has been fired from her glamorous job and kicked out from her condo. At 37 years old, she's back at home with her parents and trying to redefine her career prospects.

When she attends her class reunion, she hopes to make some connections with her more successful classmates to get her PR company on its feet. However, Lissy realizes that "karma is a bitch" when none of these people want anything to do with her. See... Lissy was a real bitch in high school and burned a heck of a lot of bridges.

When Lissy gets the opportunity to go back in time and get a do-over (thanks to a magic potion), she's more than willing to try. Things can't really get much worse for her. However, Lissy finds that her inner mean girl is still at work and it's not as simple as she had hoped. So when Lissy finally does try to make some changes and amends for her past, she discovers that this behavior might further complicate matters and not always be entirely helpful! Can Lissy fix her past so that she can fix her future?

I'm sure you can tell from my description of HERE I GO AGAIN that it's a light read. It is extremely funny and silly at times, and there were even a few feel-good moments thrown in. I am definitely giving myself away by saying this, but like Ms. Lancaster and Lissy, I am also a product of the 80s; and I absolutely loved all of the 80s references -- from the fashion, to the hair, to the music.

Lissy is definitely a unique character. Quite frankly, she's a horrible person for a major part of the novel and she's a little hard to take. Of course, that's by design! However, by the end of the novel, I found that I began to understand Lissy and I even began rooting for her. I don't want to read too much into this novel, but I did appreciate how Lissy reminded me that even the mean girls in high school had insecurities and a lot more going on than I ever realized. I remind my daughter of this almost daily, but I know I didn't have that perspective back then (and sometimes even now!)

I think the appeal of HERE I GO AGAIN (besides that it's a Jen Lancaster novel) is that it's about second chances. And who doesn't wish they had a way to fix some of the things from our past? While I would never (ever) want to revisit my high school days, it is fun to think about those days and wonder how things would have turned out differently if we'd made a few different choices. It's also kind of uplifting to know that those kids who weren't exactly the most popular in high school do end up with fulfilling lives!

HERE I GO AGAIN is just a light, fun read that's the perfect escape book... especially for those women who want a walk down the 1980s "Memory Lane."

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.


Sandy Nawrot said...

Totally understand the stress! Ha! And these books are what you need when you have your mind on other things. I love stories like this. Karma IS a bitch, and my high school friends and I chuckle at the fate of the mean girl in our school...hee hee! I need to see if I can find this on audio.

bermudaonion said...

I thought this book was a lot of fun too! It reminded me that all those horrible episodes of our life serve to make us stronger.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I guess you have to be in a certain mood to read this one and it was right for you when you needed it!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

It's always good to have go-to light books!

Beth F said...

Sometimes escape reading is just the perfect choice.