What I like in a book has drastically altered over the years. I have to say that if I talked to my younger self, she would be appalled. Nowadays, I favor books that are realistic. Books that show the true nature of the human affliction; that show what people are capable of. All that being said, I have grown out of romance novels. But not out of chick lit. (Some of you are wondering what the difference is. Ask me and I’ll let you know, but the rant will take place in another entry). I know, I know! I really should have moved on by now! But I can’t get past the warm, mushy feeling at the bottom of my stomach when the hero and heroine FINALLY get together at the end of the book. And I have found that a lot of chick lit is full of plights of the human condition. Which is why I love Jane Green.
I picked up Bookends for the title. The description was okay, but I loved the idea of thetitle. Bookends. I don’t know, it captured me. It took me all summer, but I finally managed to start it. And couldn’t put it down. The story revolves around the heroine Catherine (aka Cath) and her best friends. She starts by introducing them in college and then flashes to the present. In college they goofed off, dated, but remained a central group: Cath, Simon (Si), Josh, Eddie, and Portia. Portia was the star around whom they all revolved. Until the night when she broke Josh’s heart, and the others couldn’t forgive her. They all faded from Portia but not really from each other. Eddie moved away, but kept in touch occasionally, and Cath, Si, and Josh remained good friends and the group expanded when Josh married the lovely Lucy. The book picks up in the present day, where Cath hasn’t had a real relationship in over five years, Si is still looking for the man of his dreams, and Lucy and Josh have the perfect marriage. Then Lucy proposes to help fulfill Cath’s lifelong dream of opening a book shop/cafe. And Portia shows back up in their lives.
Drama, inevitably, ensues and it pains out in a lovely story. Sort of. The ending isn’t perfect. Yes, Cath meets eligible, cute, boy-next-door James and they start something, but Si meets ugly, cruel, jerk-face Will who had HIV and didn’t bother to tell his boyfriend. It’s heart-wrenching. But real. Which is what I liked about it.
The characters made decisions, assumptions, that I would have made were I in their shoes. They laughed, cried, slammed doors, and were real to me. I’m not a huge fan of sex in books (not a fan at all really), so that part didn’t thrill me (there was only one) but the rest of the book was alive with emotion and intrigue, something you’ll find in all Jane Green’s books. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to people who prefer less sex-filled writing. Or to young children. Or teens. lol. But if you’re of a reasonable age 😉 and you enjoy light reading on a rainy day (although many issues in this books will definitely make you think) I’d encourage you to pick this or another Green novel up. You won’t be disappointed.