Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Flirting with Forty - Jane Porter I honestly don't know what possessed me to pick up Flirting with Forty by Jane Porter the other day. It was on a clearance table when I was shopping for books for my kids, and since I'm pretty much headed in the general direction of 40 myself, I think I saw the title and just grabbed it without so much as a cursory glance at the promotional blurbs. I probably could have spared myself a few hours of sheer, unadulterated torture if I had.::: The Plot. Such As It Is. :::Jacqueline (or Jack, or Jackie, depending on what mood the author is in on which page) is recently divorced, a single mom with two children under 10. She's bitter about the divorce, bitter about being single, and feels like she no longer fits in with her three still-married friends.One friend talks Jacqueline into a girls-only trip to Hawaii for Jack's 40th birthday, but begs off at the last minute, leaving Jack to go alone, mope about her life, and end up having an island affair with a surf instructor named Kai. The rest of the book is Jack obsessing about Kai, arguing with her ex, carrying on some bipolar relationship with her friends where they either criticize her or tell her how much they admire her, and repeating the same thoughts over and over again. Sorry if that spoiled the plot for you, but I thought I'd save you some time.::: Wait. Haven't I Read This Before? :::I can't believe this novel was even published. I had to double-check to make sure it wasn't some vanity press because the whole thing was so familiar I wanted to scream. Four girlfriends: one gorgeous and angsty, one prim and proper, one earth-mother-y? All you are missing is Kim Catrall vamping it up and you have Sex and the City 3: Seattle Burb Bliss.And then you have the Hawaii affair with the much-younger beach bum and how it forces Jack to re-examine her life at what may be a critical juncture. I seem to have read this before, in How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and gee, I thought it was inane there too. Why on EARTH go back over that same ground? Why can't a woman turning 40 figure out her life without banging the proverbial cabana boy? It's not even the May-December "look, we can do it just like the men do" bit, but how it's handled. And if you aren't sure that the author is giving the wink-wink-nudge-nudge girl power cradle-robber bit, watch for the Ashton Kutcher reference if you have decided that the Yellow Pages are too exciting for your blood and this book sounds like your cup of tea.So we've covered the lack of originality, but what about the author's general indecisiveness? I realize that I stopped caring about Jack by, say, page 10 or so, but even the minimal amount of attention I was paying to the story should have made it clear why her marriage broke up, right? I mean, husband has affair. Wife finds out. She can't trust him. They divorce, right? Then why does everyone blame her, from her friends to her ex to her boring soliloquys about where she went wrong, why it went wrong, Kai, Kai, too scared to do anything exciting, blah, blah, middle-aged-crisis-cakes. She also can't stick with a name, a financial situation, friend opinions, or pretty much anything. I started feeling like I was reading different versions of the same book, with a different take on the characters with each chapter.I finished this book simply to finish it, but I can't remember the last time I was glad that a book was finally over. If this is what 40 looks like? I'll gladly skip ahead to 50. This review originally published on Epinions:

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