13 Going On 30 in reverse—every bit as fluffy, and every bit as entertaining.
Just when you thought chick-lit was washed up (or had graduated to the Allison Pearson married-with-babies stage of life), out comes a Bridget-like tale with a new twist. Colgan (Amanda’s Wedding, 2004), in her fifth novel, introduces heroine Flora Scurrison. Flora (predictably) has it all, and she (predictably) is a little dissatisfied: raking in the money, but working so many hours she can’t possibly spend it; lovely boyfriend, but not sure she wants to marry him. At her best friend’s wedding, Flora lazily wishes she could return to adolescence and do it all over again. Shazam! The wish comes true. Flora wakes up in her girlhood bedroom, wearing her childhood nightgown, a nasty zit threatening to pop out on her forehead—and she’s returned to age sixteen. Funny thing is, she hasn’t exactly gone back in time. It’s still 2003, now exactly one month before that best friend’s wedding. (Tashy, said best friend, is still a thirtysomething, and recognizes teenaged Flora, as does Flora’s steadfast beau.) We spend a month following young Flora to school, to the mall, and to parties where she snogs hunky young Justin. She heroically tries to prevent her parents from splitting up, and she helps Tashy get through her prenuptial case of cold feet. But as Tashy’s wedding, redux, looms nearer, Flora knows she has to make a choice: attend the wedding and wish herself back to adulthood, or stay sweet sixteen, and do it all again. The ending isn’t exactly suspenseful, but it is surprisingly satisfying. Fast-paced dialogue is the sine qua non of the genre, and Colgan doesn’t disappoint. Those tired of the tawdry sex scenes that seem to comprise ever-greater percentages of chick-lit pages may also be pleased by the relative lack of lascivious detail.
Hardly Jane Austen, but fun nonetheless.