Hollett’s debut novel chronicles one 28-year-old woman’s journey on the road to maturity, with an unexpected twist that threatens to shatter her family’s stability.
The book’s ingratiatingly light and humorous veneer covers its more somber core. The slim volume details the exploits, friendships and familial relationships of an unnamed young woman, who serves as narrator. Searching for love and a better understanding of the opposite sex, she tries to make use of the diverse slices of wisdom she has gleaned from her many male friends. The novel brims with useful advice, both quirky (“start buying quality tools even if you haven’t fully decided on the project yet”) and philosophical (“Men tell you exactly who they are at the beginning. Believe them.”) But the quest and joviality is really a vehicle for Hollett to highlight the very serious issue of male depression. Readers drawn in by the early chick-lit frivolity are likely to be unprepared for the abrupt switch in both content and tone as the story becomes a cautionary tale for men and the women who love them. When a family crisis strikes midway through the tale, it’s the catalyst for far more penetrating discoveries and understanding. Although Hollett is an adept writer who propels the story forward with a light hand, there’s a discordant switch in the narrative at this point, and the story begins to sound more like a lecture than a work of fiction. The enjoyable banter is exchanged for advice-giving. Nonetheless, the message is valuable, and it is worth taking the time to read through to the satisfying conclusion.
A fun ride until it’s suddenly serious.