FIVE THINGS I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT by Holly Shumas

FIVE THINGS I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Slightly neurotic young woman impulsively quits her day job to freelance as a “profile writer” for singles using online dating sites.

With a devoted boyfriend, great friends and a meaningful job at an animal shelter writing pithy bios for dogs in need of adoption, Nora Bishop should be more at ease in her life. But, on the cusp of turning 30, she is far from settled. Nora frets over everything, second guessing and analyzing even the most mundane daily decisions in what she has come to call her “meta-life.” Her chattering mind will just not let her be, making her sudden decision to resign from the shelter especially surprising, even if she was never that into animals. Nursing a vague ambition to be a writer, she helps a friend polish her online profile so that it better reflects her personality, inadvertently stumbling into a new gig rewriting online personal ads for the unlucky-in-love. With an ability to highlight the best qualities of all her clients, she quickly finds modest success, along with the belief that she is actually making a positive difference in people’s lives. However, in spite of an easygoing schedule that leaves her time to enjoy the Bay Area, Nora bores quickly. She starts to worry about the relationship with her laid-back computer programmer sweetie Dan, wondering if he really is the one. When she finds herself attracted to a hunky client, she realizes she might have a problem with commitment. She resists temptation, but her subsequent confession to Dan forces her to consider her motivations. This leads to a heated confrontation with the controlling mother who just might have made Nora nuts, along with a last-ditch attempt to make things right with Dan. This modest debut from trained therapist Shumas isn’t big on laughs, but it does offer a deep understanding of human nature.

Topical coming-of-age story with a bright, humane heroine.

Pub Date: July 13th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-446-69906-8
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: 5 Spot/Grand Central Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2007