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Ready to Fall: A Novel Hardcover – March 28, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"I feel as if the only time anyone even talks to me is to complain or criticize or to place an order for something they need," laments frustrated wife and mother Beth Riordan in this debut novel of frustrated domesticity. Indeed, Cook gives ample proof at the outset that Beth's husband Pete and children Margot, 14, Chloe, 13, and PJ, 10, notice Beth only when they run out of coffee or toilet paper. But Beth finds a secret way to make her life exciting. In between driving the kids to predawn swim practices, keeping the household running and working as a freelance quotation researcher, Beth starts an e-mail friendship with travel writer Thomas Marsh, her older neighbor, whose wife has recently left him. (She is Swimslave; he is Wanderlust.) Soon their e-correspondence escalates to e-flirtation, and the tension of whether or not their budding relationship will be consummated keeps the plot going at a decent clip. While the premise is entirely believable--lonely, insecure housewife living in a pokey Boston suburb pours out her heart electronically--the plot takes several contrived, unrealistic turns. Beth signs up for an expensive female-bonding wilderness week, but when the group arrives at their secluded island, she whines about the lack of air conditioning. The adolescent tone persists, ending at Beth's high school reunion when she walks out of the bathroom with toilet paper hanging out of the back of her pants. Despite its cliched elements, the narrative has some witty scenes of domestic miscommunication, and Cook's perky take on midlife angst will undoubtedly appeal to women who fantasize about changing their lives. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

....Cook's characters have the same honesty, sincerity and directness [as those of best-selling author Elizabeth Berg] -- Orlando Sentinel, May 9, 2000

...Cook's well-crafted tale is a voyeuristic look at cyber-romance without the guilt -- Today's Librarian, April 2000
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Bridgeworks; 1st edition (March 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882593324
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882593323
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,017,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

CLAIRE COOK wrote her first novel in her minivan at 45. At 50, she walked the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of the movie adaptation of her second novel, Must Love Dogs, starring Diane Lane and John Cusack. She is now the USA Today bestselling author of 13 books, and a sought after reinvention speaker. If you have a buried dream, take it from Claire, it is NEVER TOO LATE!

Claire has reinvented herself once again by turning Must Love Dogs into a series, as well as writing her first nonfiction book, Never Too Late: Your Roadmap to Reinvention (without getting lost along the way), in which she shares everything she's learned on her own journey that might help you in yours.

Find out more and read excerpts at ClaireCook.com.

Claire loves connecting with her readers and is forever grateful to them for giving her the gift of her midlife career. Stay in the loop for future releases, giveaways and insider extras at ClaireCook.com/newsletter and connect with Claire on Facebook (ClaireCookauthorpage), Twitter (ClaireCookwrite) and Pinterest (ClaireCookwrite).

Customer Reviews

READY TO FALL is the best book I've read in a long time.
Susan H.
Good for Claire for breaking through with a lovely, well written and developed story and peculiar characters that are actually believable.
Richard Connolly
Her most annoying characteristic, though, is her total and complete selfishness.
Books Rule!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Beth Riordan, the main character in Ready to Fall, reveals all of the self-doubt, questioning, and searching that are a part of mid-life. The lesson is that, faced with humor, we continue to grow, find our way, and move on. Beth does the work for us in this intelligent, humorous book. I couldnt stop reading because I had to know what would happen and to whom. And I too laughed out loud, which doesn t happen often enough in literature or in life.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It is rare to read a book that makes you laugh out loud, but Claire Cook accomplishes this on the first page! Her email format is truly unique. You can bet others will be copying her believing that her witty style will be easy to replicate. I'm sure they'll find they are wrong. She manages to create the same excitement for the reader as they would get if they were intercepting email from a quirky neighbor about her semi-psychotic crush on the man next door. It doesn't get more innovative or seductive than this novel. If you want a book you simply can't put down, this is it! I can't wait to read more from this author.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Polly Kimmitt on April 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A very difficult-to-put-down book. I just had to see if Beth would figure herself out, with or without Heather's help. I wanted to see if she'd go through with it. I wanted to see if she found out exactly how happy we can all expect to be at this point. I wanted her to live my mid-life crisis for me. Thanks, Beth! Not to be missed!
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Carol S. VINE VOICE on May 2, 2000
Format: Hardcover
After scanning the book jacket, I began this novel, eagerly awaiting the "thought-provoking and enormously entertaining" adventures, the "humor, poignancy, revelation ... [and] originality," the "surprise" ending that were promised thereon. I'm still waiting. The novel's format - the narrator's emails to a neighbor - felt corny and stilted to me, like a gimmick without substance. Unlike "Bridget Jones", I never lost my awareness that I was reading a novel. Perhaps a more skilled author would have been able to drop in sufficient background information or plot development without it sounding so obvious or staged. There wasn't much of a plot, or at least not an original one; woman is married with kids, loses her identity, falls out of love with her husband, is searching for some indefinable something. It didn't seem to me, though, that she grew significantly as a character, or gained true insight (last few pages notwithstanding). All she seemed to do was kvetch about her husband (a thoroughly unlikeable man, as she describes him) and project her neediness and lack of self-assertiveness onto some shadowly figure of a neighbor. I finished the novel - it didn't take long - just to find out whether she actually would have the guts to do something to change her life, or at least whether she would figure out that her neighbor was as much of a jerk as her husband. Phooey. After scanning the acknowledgements, I realized that 3 of the 4 authors quoted on the back of the book are, apparently, members of Ms. Cook's writing group. Might this be why such a mediocre book attracted a publisher?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Claire Cook writes with such a relaxed easy style and with such accessibility that it I almost missed the significance of what she's accomplished with READY TO FALL besides providing the reader with a quick read and lots of laughs. Cook has created an entire world through one-way emails, no small feat. I wasn't sure she could pull it off without a few seams showing, but she did. Bravo! True innovation here.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When I was reading READY TO FALL, I felt like I had stumbled across someone's email that I had no right to be reading. For a reader, it just doesn't get much better than that.I found myself talking to the characters, too. I gave Beth a lot of good advice (but she didn't listen). I saw so much of myself and my friends here. Claire Cook has written a great first novel and I'm already waiting for her second.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book! The characterization was really strong, and the one way e-mails just said it all. I laughed aloud, but at the same time, could really identify with Beth, even as I could recognize how patheticaly vulnerable she was. I think any woman who has ever felt invisible to her family could relate.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Susan H. on April 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
READY TO FALL is the best book I've read in a long time. I was hooked by the first SwimSlave to Wanderlust e-mail, and stayed hooked, and laughing, until the ending. Great characters! I think I know Heather and I know I've probably dated Thomas.Haven't we all....
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