- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (May 1, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1503942988
- ISBN-13: 978-1503942981
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,952 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Crimes Against a Book Club Paperback – May 1, 2017
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"The Silent Patient" by Alex Michaelides
"Smart, sophisticated storytelling freighted with real suspense―a very fine novel by any standard." ―Lee Child Pre-order today
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From Publishers Weekly
Cooperman’s debut novel is a lighthearted look at the evolution of a female friendship through entrepreneurial success and strife. When best friends Annie and Sarah find themselves broke with growing medical bills, the women decide to go into business selling a homemade face cream to the wealthy wives of La Jolla, San Diego. With meticulous Annie’s chemistry background and beautiful Sarah’s charisma, the business takes off—and Sarah soon finds herself learning more than she ever hoped for about the unfulfilled women of La Jolla. It is a whiplash-inducing rise to success, but when their secret ingredient comes to light, Annie and Sarah find themselves in the middle of a high-society scandal. Using a clever heist plot as her vehicle, Cooperman introduces the reader to a variety of characters trying to figure out how to age gracefully in a milieu dominated by the young and beautiful. While Cooperman’s characters are always intriguing and their personalities clear, their resolutions often feel like an afterthought to the main story. Cooperman’s debut is a light, engrossing novel with two bold protagonists that won’t quickly be forgotten.
A POPSUGAR Hot New Spring Books Selection
A Real Simple Best Book of May
“Cooperman’s latest is a fantastic neighborhood book club meets The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills dramathon, a cautionary no-good-deed-goes-unpunished tale. Her study on the complexities of friendships and marriage, plus a rock-solid plot, snappy, quick-paced dialogue, likable stars and a stable of unforgettable co-stars make it a real page-turner.” —RT Book Reviews
“Lighthearted.…You'll speed through this read.” —Real Simple
“Cooperman’s debut is a light, engrossing novel with two bold protagonists that won’t quickly be forgotten.” —Publishers Weekly
“Cooperman is at her best when she focuses on the friendship between Annie and Sarah—their bond is genuinely touching, and their struggles are easy to relate to.…A funny story about what two women will do to make a quick buck.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The theme of this first novel is the importance of family.…The fun is the developing characters.” —Booklist
“Funny, heartwarming and a little left of center, Crimes Against a Book Club is a story about real life struggles tackled in an unconventional manner.” —Long and Short Reviews
“Cooperman…weave[s] levity into profound themes. Think a quirkier Liane Moriarty.” —Del Mar Times
“A winner the whole way through…The story is fun, fresh, and celebrates friendship.” —Chick Lit Central
“I absolutely loved Crimes Against a Book Club. [It] has to be up there on the list of one of my favorite fun novels. So many good bits. It hit all the right spots for me.” —3 Book Girls
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The story-line was clever and I could see it happening in real life, or at least reality TV. The book club ladies remind me of those real housewives of wherever, not that I'm admitting to watching any of those trashy shows. ;-) I could actually see it working well as a movie, not a major motion picture or anything, but a really good Lifetime movie starring someone you forgot existed.
The prologue is a bit of a spoiler alert though. I think I would have rather found that part out later in the story but I see why it was done for the set-up. I guess I'm just not a fan of the start at the end and then flashback to how it all started thing. But nonetheless I enjoyed the story and would recommend this book for sure, especially while it's free as a Kindle First selection!
You know how there's that idea that book clubs don't actually discuss books? Cooperman took that idea and ran with it, while at the same time, making sure that some ACTUAL books are discussed. An interesting take on book clubs, I know.
I'm not saying the Book Club in the story itself has many conversations about books--the goal was to keep it SOMEWHAT realistic at after all--but they're brought up elsewhere. This as done as the opener at the beginning of every chapter, where a trademark section of famous books are brought up and related to the character that the chapter will focus on. And at least several DOZEN popular books are mentioned with enough detail that at least the Cliffs Notes were browsed.
It's a clever idea, but it's also the reason I'm knocking off a star. Because sometimes, the major conflict or plot point was spoiled in these mini-synopses. I'm a pretty well-read guy, probably eeking my way into the low thousands of books read, and I've read a decent portion of the books Cooperman brings up at the first of the chapters. (Where's Monte Cristo anyway?!) But not ALL of them.
I know most classic pieces are too old to warrant a spoiler review, but still, several times the ending of one of these stories I HAVEN'T got around to reading was brought up... Yeah. Not my favorite thing. It's not on the level of ruining who Darth Vader REALLY is (!) but I think it would've been better to use this method without the spoilers; it'd be like me spoiling the "special ingredient" from the description. Still, It really is astonishing how many separate books Cooperman could tie-in to her characters and for me, it's the new record--at least for explicit comparisons.
So if that's not a big deal to you or if you've read ALL the classics because you have The Flash level of speed reading, then absolutely give this one a chance. It's kind of an unusual premise, and an unusual take on the con(wo)man tale, but it works. I mean, granted, some of the plot is a little absurd--I'm not a big fan of the ending (Oh wow, big surprise!) for instance--but there's nothing so wholly unfeasible, so blatantly inconceivable that The Twilight Zone looks like a documentary in comparison.
Character wise, the women are the stars. While there's a couple blokes here and there, they're more bit parts, supporters, that sort of thing. Starting out, it's pretty clear who your two protagonists are. The brilliant and comedic Annie Baker (Who I know from school! Just, a non-fiction one) and the suave and beautiful Sarah Sloane. Annie's an oddball and has some issues, but the biggest issue with Sarah might be that she's made from the ingredients of The Powerpuff Girls minus Chemical-X; she's equally smart as Annie and has unTrumpable moral standards, friendly, warm, helpful, so on. The Chuck Norris Standard of Quality.
Their tale is told through third-person, but uses much more than three people. In the middle, Cooperman gave chapters to so many characters I thought were minor that I started to question if there were any protagonists at all. I wouldn't say it's a bad thing, they had some humorous and empowering anecdotes after all, but they were all bunched together, which I thought was an odd choice.
There's not much in the questionable content department for this book either. Sex and language are pretty sparse, though strangely enough it may be F-tomic bomb that's dropped the most, maybe half a dozen times or so. There are no sex scenes or anything like that, and no glamorization of the worst of humanity (depending on your opinion of child therapy that is).
It's an easier read, but that doesn't mean it's not complex. An impressive amount of knowledge and research was poured into this book but conveyed in simple English. There's plenty of themes and symbols to go around, but if you don't care about such things, the book is set up in such a way that missing them doesn't detract from the story. I certainly missed a few at first glance, and figuring them out later added another layer instead--don't think I didn't notice the beverage of choice!
So if you're looking for something with less gloom n' doom with a couple of laugh-out-loud moments and a focus on positive themes like self-empowerment and motherhood, give this a try, and you shouldn't be disappointed.
The real fun though is with the book club ladies. When you first meet them they just seem like a bunch of rich entitled white women with stupid problems. When we really meet some of them we see that one has a super overbearing mother in law that would be any woman's nightmare, one who is divorced (and better off without him I think) has a wonderful friendship with her maid. For me, it was these women and their stories that brought life to the book. Though the author showed us why Annie and Sarah decided to make their face cream, I never really sympathized with them. I also had problems with how they made their face cream - by mixing together existing creams such as Ponds and Oil of Olay. Don't they all smell different? It isn't that hard to find recipes for lotions and creams you can make from scratch. You can order the ingredients online, and jars too.
Overall, I did enjoy the story. It was a fun read, and I recommend it.
I was so pleasantly surprised to find out how much I've enjoyed the book. I really connected with the characters and I loved watching them grow and learn. Even if you aren't a fan of this type book, I'd still check it out. You won't be disappointed.