Heartbroken lawyer trades bagels and briefcases for salsa and self-discovery.
Newly divorced and lacking a game plan for her future, Claire St. John leaves New York City and skedaddles home to Austin, Texas. Surrounded by girlfriends and family, Claire mulls over her next step. She’s in her early 30s, but lacks focus and direction. Being a lawyer simply didn’t suit this impetuous minx. She fancies herself witty, and she owns a laptop: Heck—why not become a writer? Thanks to a rent-free house provided by Mom, Claire’s in no rush to deliver a finished product. She whiles away her days at the local coffee shop, munching on junk food and recording her attempts at observational humor. She decides to pen a humorous self-help book targeting men. Though neither especially funny nor particularly insightful about romance, she more than overcompensates with confidence for what she lacks in raw talent. As she pecks away at her laptop, she finds time to cultivate a new romance. She and Jake seem to be hitting it off, but Claire’s sassy tongue gets her into trouble. Single and broke, she makes a last-ditch effort to launch her writing career and salvage the “Year of Claire.” Risks have their rewards. Claire’s unorthodox approach to relationships and business should fail, but Barrett revels in letting this underdog win. Unfortunately, her narrative is as undisciplined as her main character. Claire’s boorish behavior is occasionally endearing, but for the most part, the characters are stereotypical and the comedy amateurish.
Hard to figure how this ugly-duckling first novel landed Barrett a three-book deal.