A reality TV star tracks her journey from New Jersey public relations agent to Alabama housewife and mother.
In her first book, Sullivan, the star of Bravo’s Jersey Belle and host of the Facebook video series #cawfeetawk, recounts how she met and, after a long courtship, married “rugged and sexy, soft-spoken and intelligent” Michael, a state lobbyist 13 years her senior. A year before their wedding, she moved to his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, where she frequently clashed with her genteel mother-in-law-to-be and gradually picked up a few friends willing to embrace her un-Southern loudness and directness. Sullivan emphasizes the important role Christianity has played in her life: after being raised “marginally Jewish,” she converted to Catholicism in her early 20s and fell “madly in love with God.” She peppers her book with biblical quotations and bits of generic advice under the heading of #cawfeetawk. “All healthy relationships take work,” writes the author. Also, “fear does not stop failure. It stops success.” The relationship between the author and her husband, who dated her for months before kissing her for the first time, comes across as less idyllic than she frequently insists it is, and her new friends and children are viewed through equally rose-colored and unrevealing glasses. But the passages on how she adapted to life in Alabama—including a comic chapter revealing the crucial differences between a bridal shower in upper-class Birmingham and one on the Jersey Shore—have a lively charm, and Sullivan’s self-deprecating humor makes her a comfortable, chatty companion.
One might wish for more insight into the life of a transplanted Northerner and less emphasis on all-purpose bits of insight and what seems at times a one-sided love story, but it’s hard to resist Sullivan’s spunky, outgoing personality.