The dreaded move back home offers an opportunity for personal reinvention in this agreeable tale.
At 28, Meredith McKay has a job she doesn’t hate, a boyfriend she likes just fine and a nice little life far, far from her dysfunctional family. This pleasant existence is interrupted when a medical emergency—her father breaks his leg while her mother tours Europe—requires an extended stay at her childhood home. Always the responsible one, Meredith tends to her father while keeping the peace between her siblings and maintaining a truce with her brother’s fiancée—who happens to be her former best friend. Her father’s convalescence provides her with ample opportunity to rediscover her teen angst and deal with the fact that caring for him in the home she thought she’d escaped doesn’t compare at all favorably to caring for her boyfriend in the home she’s created for herself. In any case, the reader can be certain that Meredith will soon be jolted from her housewifely tendencies altogether. When a young, female protagonist rhapsodizes about her “comfortable routine,” you know her world is about to get rocked. Unrest arrives in the form of Scott Sheridan, a dweeb from her youth who has grown into a disarmingly handsome man. The reunion culminates in crazed sexual shenanigans, which Scott perceives as payment for various tortures Meredith and her clique inflicted on him in high school. The ensuing relationship—all snarky banter and passive-aggressive sex—is pure passion sublimated, straight out of a romantic comedy. This is not to say that the story is utterly predictable. While Crane (English as a Second Language, 2004) follows the rules of the genre when it comes to love, she affords her heroine considerable latitude for growth, and she addresses real challenges—connecting with an imperfect family, making and keeping girlfriends, achieving true self-awareness—faced by young women.
Amusing, heartfelt and emotionally sophisticated chick-lit.