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Life's a Beach Hardcover – May 30, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Voice; 1st edition (May 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401303242
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401303242
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,508,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Must Love Dogs author Cook returns with Ginger Walsh, 41, who has ditched her job in sales and moved above her parent's garage with a cat she calls Boyfriend— despite (or because of) her casual relationship with alluring glassblower Noah. As big sister Geri gets anxious about her impending 50th, their parents decide to sell the house, and Geri's second-grader Riley lands a small role in a horror movie being filmed in their quaint New England town. Ginger babysits Riley on the set and meets a gaffer who may be charming enough to make her forget all about Noah. Cook's wit and unflagging heart save this moderately paced beach read from its anticlimactic ending.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


". . . funny page turner . . ." -- Ft. Worth Star Telegram

"Claire Cook is wicked good!" -- Jacqueline Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

"Dive into this gleefully quirky coming-of-age story centered on . . . a 41-year-old. With the help of her hippie parents, Boyfriend the cat, and a shark-crazy movie crew, Ginger Walsh is finally growing up -- and there's no escaping a few growing pains." -- Redbook

"Humorous, light, and at times touching. Cook once again hits the mark." -- Fresh Fiction

"I picked up a bound copy of Claire Cook’s Life’s a Beach at NEIBA and wanted to be the first to recommend it for a Booksense pick for June 2007. The timing of the release and the subject matter will make this book a beach "must read". I really found myself escaping to the Cape. I feel like I became part of the family dynamics and fell in love with precocious Riley. The characters (both the wonderful and the exasperating) are fabulous and I hated for the book to end. Get out the lemonade and beach chair and enjoy!" -- Sharon Duran, Edgartown Books

"In this lighthearted, breezy read, Cook displays a wry sense of humor and knows how to write realistic characters." -- Library Journal

"Midlife love, laughter, sibling rivalry and self-discovery . . . Goes down as easy as it sounds." -- People

"Tender, touching, and terribly, terribly funny!" -- Mary Kay Andrews, author of Savannah Breeze

"a book brimming with wit and heart." -- Cape Cod Times

"perfect-for-the-beach summer novel . . . a bumpy delight." -- Boston Common

More About the Author

Reinvention is the story of my books and my life. I wrote my first novel in my minivan at 45. At 50, I walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the adaptation of my second novel, MUST LOVE DOGS, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. And I've just reinvented myself again by writing my first nonfiction book, NEVER TOO LATE, to share everything I've learned on my own journey that might help you in your own.

If you have a buried dream, trust me, it is NEVER too late!

Make sure you stop by my website,, to download your free NEVER TOO LATE workbook and sign up for my newsletter to be the first to hear about new releases, insider extras, and fun giveaways.

Some of the nice things that have been said about my work: "The exuberant and charming Claire Cook is one of the sassiest and funniest creators of contemporary women's fiction," according to The Times-Picayune. People magazine said my writing "goes down as easy as it sounds," Good Housekeeping called it "laugh-out-loud," Redbook "gleefully quirky" and the Chicago Tribune "funny and pitch perfect." Shelf Awareness said, "Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs) has built a brand writing light-hearted women's fiction blending kernels of the absurd and comedic in compulsively readable combinations."

I've been a judge for the Family Circle magazine fiction contest, a finalist and a judge for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and the Beach Book Festival fiction and grand prize winner. I've spoken at the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, Cape Cod Writers Center, Savannah Book Festival, the California Women's Conference, and given keynotes at the Dress for Success International Conference, the Missouri Writers Guild Conference, and the Amelia Island Book Festival, and many more. My books have been translated into 14 languages.

I was a teacher for sixteen years before writing my first book, and worked with children from preschool to middle school, teaching everything from multicultural games and dances, to writing, to open ocean rowing. I was born in Virginia, and lived for many years in Scituate, Massachusetts, a beach town between Boston and Cape Cod. My husband and I have recently moved to the suburbs of Atlanta to be closer to our two adult kids, who actually want us around again!

I have the world's most fabulous readers, and I'm forever grateful to you all for giving me the gift of this career.

Midlife Rocks!


Hang out with me:

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Protagonist Ginger Walsh is a forty-something, single woman who finds herself living in her parents F.R.O.G (Finished Room Over the Garage). She's got a boyfriend with commitment issues, an artistic cat semi-sarcastically named Boyfriend, and she is working on a half-hearted attempt at a career making jewelry out of beach glass. Her aging hippie mother wants to sell the house and move to a retirement community but her dad is determined to stay right where they are.

Proclaiming herself childfree by choice, Ginger nevertheless spends much of her time babysitting for her sister Geri's kids. So it just seems natural for her to shepherd nephew Riley out to Cape Cod when he gets a small part in a B-movie. On the set she meets a handsome gaffer and succumbs to his charms just a little, which leads to insinuations by the other mothers on just how Riley got his part. Sister Geri is so wrapped up in her upcoming 50th birthday that she can't focus on anything else, unless of course it's berating Ginger about her poor life choices.

This is one of those books that makes for the perfect beach read. It's not too long, not too intellectually demanding, and yet the characters are engaging and funny and just a little over-the-top. A warm and witty romantic comedy with just the right amount of serious relationship insight. Sisters will recognize each other in these pages, as they watch Geri and Ginger find themselves and each other.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Beach McDriftwood on June 12, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a quick, light read. Claire Cook can write dialogue well. The quirkiness of the characters is fun. But this book is not her best. (This is the second book of hers that I've read). I enjoyed it for what it is, but it's a lot like that favorite TV show about nothing.

The main character is Ginger, a 41 year-old woman, living at home, who just can not seem to get her act together. She tries her luck at being an artist, kinda-sorta dates a local guy, babysits her sister's kids, flirts with movie people who come to town blah blah blah. There's a couple of plot surprises along the way, but it's not enough to raise the level of monotony in the book, or the general interest in the characters above mediocrity.

Do I recommend this book -- sure, why not? Just be ready for cotton candy, not layer cake.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By K. Corn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a fan of the author. I want to be clear about that and I truly have enjoyed other books written by her. This one, however, did not grab me. I read it completely through, trying to give it a fair shot.

Most of the book revolves around two sisters, primarily the wilder sister, Ginger, who is in her 40s and still single. Although the book gives details about her boyfriend, Noah, and her parents and sister, she spends most of the time watching over her young nephew, who has a part in a low budget film.

I had two major problems with this book:
1. The plot wasn't full of enough action
2. The characterizations weren't detailed or believable. They just didn't grab me.

In the end, I didn't find this a compelling read. But I'm looking forward to the author's next book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Betzy C on June 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Someone should tell the author that her plot is missing. The protagonist, Ginger (40-something, unmarried, commitment-phobic) spends much of her time scooting on her bottom across a beach looking for pieces of sea glass to make into earrings. At other times, she is being berated for not doing anything with her life by her "quirky" family members (read quirky as ridiculous and annoyingly unbelievable). And sometimes she takes her cat for a walk. Can you stand all that action? I bought this book at a store in Nantucket while on vacation, thinking that it'd have a great Cape Cod feel. Well, it doesn't. I expected to hear that unique New England voice. I didn't. It is, however, a quick read, so if you like silly books that don't clutter up your mind with anything worthwhile, go for it. I'd recommend getting it from the library or at a second-hand bookstore.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By AP on June 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I read the entire book today on the beach. I loved every page. It was cute, funny, heartwarming...everything you want in a "beach book". I highly recommend you take this book with you where ever you go this summer, the beach, the lake, the pool, etc. You will not be sorry you bought it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stacie L. V. Davis on June 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
The Chick Lit Book Club I lead read Life's A Beach for our June, 2008 selection. The general agreement was that it wasn't a "bad" book and actually had a few funny parts but overall it was pretty forgettable.

What's Good About It:
Claire Cook does a great job of portraying family relationships. The characters are very realistic. The interaction between parents, mom and daughters, sisters, and siblings are pretty accurate and most of gals in the book club could relate to those aspects.

What's So-So About It:
It's kind of boring. Nothing major happens...there is a small family crisis here and there. Nobody's life is usually as interesting as books make them out to be but this novel fell a little flat.

The other major flaw is character development and believability. The relationship between Ginger and her boyfriend Noah isn't there...there were more sparks with the Gaffer, whose name escapes me. The passion wasn't there. In addition the characters didn't seem to change or grow that much at all. Ginger comes to realize a few things at the end of the book but big whoop, if she had half a brain she's have figured things out sooner.

I'm not saying that Claire Cook isn't talented it's just that normally the gals in the book club are clamoring for the list of other books by the author and in this case we ended earlier and had moved on to next month.
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