Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Review: Girl Before a Mirror

Summary: The author of Conversations with the Fat Girl—optioned for HBO— returns with the hilarious and heartfelt story of a woman who must learn how to be the heroine of her own life— a journey that will teach her priceless lessons about love, friendship, family, work, and her own heart An account executive in a Mad Men world, Anna Wyatt is at a crossroads. Recently divorced, she's done a lot of emotional housecleaning, including a self-imposed dating sabbatical. But now that she's turned forty, she's struggling to figure out what her life needs. Brainstorming to win over an important new client, she discovers a self-help book—Be the Heroine, Find Your Hero—that offers her unexpected insights and leads her to a most unlikely place: a romance writers' conference. If she can sign the Romance Cover Model of the Year Pageant winner for her campaign—and meet the author who has inspired her to take control of her life—she'll win the account.

For Anna, taking control means taking chances, including getting to know Sasha, her pretty young colleague on the project, and indulging in a steamy elevator ride with Lincoln Mallory, a dashing financial consultant she meets in the hotel. When the conference ends, Anna and Lincoln must decide if their intense connection is strong enough to survive outside the romantic fantasy they've created. Yet Lincoln is only one of Anna's dilemmas. Now that her campaign is off the ground, others in the office want to steal her success, and her alcoholic brother, Ferdie, is spiraling out of control.

To have the life she wants—to be happy without guilt, to be accepted for herself, to love and to be loved, to just be—she has to put herself first, accept her imperfections, embrace her passions, and finally be the heroine of her own story. -- Wm Morrow

Since I haven't been reading a whole heck of a lot lately, I decided to clean out my "finished" books cabinet. Fortunately, I discovered a pretty good book that I read quite awhile ago called GIRL BEFORE A MIRROR by Liza Palmer. I have enjoyed a few of Ms. Palmer's novels in the past, and GIRL BEFORE A MIRROR was exactly what I've come to expect from this author. It's a smart story about a woman at a crossroads in her life; and in many ways, it was a coming-of-age story (albeit the main character was turning 40!). And you probably know by now how I enjoy a good coming-of-age tale.

GIRL BEFORE A MIRROR tells the story of Anna Wyatt, an advertising executive that is recently divorced, decides that she needs to discover what will make her happy. She decides to make some changes, including no more dating, and take some chances until she figures out what she needs!

Anna's job actually gives her the boost she needs to start this journey. She becomes friends with Sasha, a gorgeous young colleague who introduces her to a self-help book called Be the Heroine, Find Your Hero. This book offers advice based on the plot of romance novels - tee hee hee! And it  provides some much-needed guidance that Anna uses to help herself both personally and professionally.

In an effort to move up the ranks in her company, she ends up going to a romance writers' conference (not exactly her cup of tea!) in an effort to sign the cover model winner for a campaign... and she also has an encounter with Lincoln, a sexy financial consultant. Neither one is in a good place, both have a lot of baggage, so they decide to put their relationship on hold until they can figure out some things.

As Anna tries to land a huge account and change her status at the advertising agency, she also faces a lot of changes in her own life including making new friends, starting a new relationship, and even dealing with an alcoholic brother. Can Anna learn to accept herself and find true happiness?

GIRL BEFORE A MIRROR was an entertaining read for me. It was a fun story about a woman trying to find herself, but it also was much deeper than I was expecting when I first picked up this novel. The author manages to make some pretty insightful comments about women as a whole, especially as they pertain to self analysis and girl power. It actually made me think while also making me laugh -- a great combination!

I think Ms. Palmer is a fantastic writer. If you're not familiar with her books, then you should really pick one (or more) up. She's a very smart writer... and by that, I mean she's both witty and clever. Her female characters are complex; and in the case of GIRL BEFORE A MIRROR, Anna is extremely insightful. She realizes that she must make some changes to her life, even though they won't be easy. She truly looks inward at her decisions as well as to those individuals around her to see how they are affecting her.

I found Anna's journey to be somewhat inspiring. As the story unfolded, it became clear that Anna was deeply troubled by her past and desperately needed to accept herself without so many apologies and so much judging! I think there's a valuable message in their for women of all ages.

Because GIRL BEFORE A MIRROR is so smart and insightful, I think book clubs made up of women (and most are, right?) would appreciate reading and discussing this novel. I wasn't able to find a discussion guide, but I have a feeling that it wouldn't be hard to assess Anna's life and her actions. Some of the themes you might want to explore include self-help books, analysis, acceptance, female empowerment, love, and happiness.

GIRL BEFORE A MIRROR is a heartwarming story about a woman who is trying to find happiness. I recommend it to fans of Liza Palmer's and general women's fiction.

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

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

I love it when a book like that surprises you with its depth.