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The Bright Side of Disaster: A Novel Paperback – April 8, 2008
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"Novels as polished and mature as The Bright Side of Disaster just don't come along very often from first-time novelists or, for that matter, from those with much longer résumés. . . . This story of a youthful-but-optimistic single mom rings bittersweet and utterly authentic."
-The Dallas Morning News
"[Jenny is] a charming and refreshingly optimistic character . . . Engaging, heartwarming . . . a great book for the beach or summer vacation; fans of Jennifer Weiner's Little Earthquakes will appreciate."
"Beautifully penned and truly memorable . . . a heartwarming and deeply emotional debut."
"A charming debut . . . Cleverly told and uncommonly appealing."
"I couldn't put down The Bright Side of Disaster. The narrator felt like my best friend, the characters were vividly drawn, the dialogue was spot-on, and the pace had me hooked. Katherine Center is a terrific writer."
From the Author
The Bright Side of Disaster was my first-ever novel--truly, the first novel I ever wrote--though I'd spent most of my life up to that point writing short stories and poems and essays. I wrote it on a dare from my sister. She said, "You should write a novel about being a mom." Then she said, "How hard can that be?" I woke up the next morning and started writing--and also had an epiphany that novels were what I should have been doing all along. The story took over and absolutely consumed my thinking from the moment I started until I finished the first draft--only about six weeks later. And it was so, so fun. I'd fallen in love with writing and words and syllables and letters and stories and poems long before, as a kid. But this book made me fall in love with writing novels.
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But Jenny Harris, our single mom, adds that extra spark--her humor, her tenacity, her all-encompassing love--and we find ourselves rooting for her from the very first moment.
Even before the "cad" leaves, we can see the handwriting on the wall and know that he will disappoint. He lolls around the house, sleeping until noon; he stays out late with his boys playing music; he doesn't lift a finger to help his hugely pregnant fiancée set up for the garage sale they're having. So, in a way, we're kind of glad that he leaves. He isn't anything to write home about.
The challenges Jenny faces, even with the support of her "new mommy" group, remind us all of any of the difficulties we've faced in life. We hope and believe that she will triumph.
So what happens to Jenny, once she has accepted that fiancé Dean is not coming back? Does she finally realize that she doesn't want him back, and will she bravely forge new relationships? Or will she totally focus on her baby, this new love who consumes her time and attention?
Discovering what happens next kept me reading until the final page. The Bright Side of Disaster: A Novel is not one of those books that we'll clamor about for days to come, but it is thoroughly enjoyable and definitely rates four stars. Perhaps even four-and-a-half.
I was moved and charmed by this book.
I'm a chick lit fan to the core. A lot of chick lit places their characters as the center of a pity party, where they scramble to find the surface. Jenny isn't that type of character, but in the same sense she is. She loses everything that she thought she wanted, but at the same time she never had it at all. Pregnant, with a deadbeat husband who leaves her. She gives birth as a single mom and finds kindness in strangers along the way.
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As for the content of the book, I am sorry to say I was not happy in...Read more