LESSONS IN LAUGHING OUT LOUD by Rowan Coleman

LESSONS IN LAUGHING OUT LOUD

KIRKUS REVIEW

An unhappy and overweight single Londoner finds her world transformed after donning a very special pair of shoes.

As the reliable and trusted underling to gleefully ruthless talent agent Victoria Kincade, Willow Briar is used to fading into the background, especially when surrounded by Victoria’s celebrity clients. Attractive but heavy, she has seen numerous opportunities—and men—pass her by. A bit of a recluse outside of work, she remains close with her twin sister Holly, a slim, sweet mother of 4-year-old girls who lives in the suburbs. Holly is a living reminder of everything Willow could have been. So when Victoria insists Willow hide waifish starlet India Torrance in her dingy flat after an on-set romance goes bad, she knows she doesn’t really have a choice. After reluctantly agreeing, she walks into a vintage shop on a random block and walks out wearing a fabulous pair of sexy pumps. Almost instantly Willow feels better about herself, and begins to get positive attention from friends and strangers alike. And then Chloe, the pregnant teenage daughter of her ex-husband Sam, shows up on her doorstep. It was Sam, a ruggedly handsome wine merchant, who called off their marriage, but Willow blames herself. Losing Chloe in the process was extremely painful for both of them. Still smarting from Willow’s perceived abandonment, Chloe has attitude to spare, and insists Willow make it up to her by allowing her to crash at her place as well. With Chloe and the young movie star holed up and bonding, Willow tries out her new shoe-inspired confidence on her longtime best friend Daniel, a photographer with a thing for models. Willow meets up with Sam again, too, as they try to figure out what is best for Chloe. But when Willow sabotages a chance for new love, she realizes that unresolved issues from her past have kept her from a fulfilling life. Eager to change that, she takes a brave trip back to her hometown to confront an ugly family secret—before it’s too late. Coleman (The Home for Broken Hearts, 2010, etc.) seems to be trying to do too much in this novel, and the shift from comedy to drama is a bit jarring. But Willow manages to be quite a sympathetic creation.

One woman’s attempt to take charge of her destiny—with a side of magic realism.

 

 

 

Pub Date: March 20th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4516-0641-6
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2012




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