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Life's a Beach Hardcover – May 30, 2007
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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 Cooks Lifes 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
Top customer reviews
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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.
I had already picked up Must Love Dogs due to the movie, yet hadn't read it yet, so I had no expectations from any prior reads from the author. And I'm getting a little worried now about whether I want to read MLD. Perhaps I've been reading too much recent YA and SF/F where the trend has been to take the book summary, have all that happen within the Kindle preview, and then go on from there. In Life's a Beach, the character starts out in her comfort zone and doesn't move much. There are humorous parts fairly frequently, mostly zinger answers to straight-man setups, and that may be okay for some people.
This is more of a slice of life story of the main character, and we could have picked another timeframe of her life, either a year prior or a year later, and it would have made for the same reading. That is, given the protagonist's backstory, I see no particular reason the author picked this part of her life on which to write.
Looking over the Publishers Weekly editorial review, well that pretty much tells you all about the book that you need to know. Except for the last 20 pages perhaps where, finally, decisions are made.
Would I buy this book knowing what I know now? No. Would I ask for my money back? No, I got enough out of it for what I paid, thanks. Would I see the (currently nonexistent) movie? Not unless it was extremely loosely based... with aliens. Would I recommend this book? I'd ask them to read this review.
42-y-o heroine who is unsure where her life is going, but she has a nice FROG (furnished room over garage, or something like that).
She has a career and a relationship that she plays at.
She can get really annoying Her introspection is more reminiscent of a 15-y-o than a 42-y-o.
I listened to the Audible version. Narration is quite good. I probably would not have finished it had I been reading it.
41 year-old Ginger is a somewhat late blooming yet spunky jewelery maker who lives in her parent's upstair apartment (temporarily...). Ginger, who is dating Noah, a sexy yet immature glass blower, is called upon to be chaperon for her nephew Riley when he gets the part as an extra in a Jaws-like movie and is simultaneously helping her father talk her mother out of selling their house and dealing with her older sister Geri's dreaded 50th birthday.
I really, really liked this book. The characters were so entertaining and fun with very realistic, human qualities and the banter between the characters was hilarious at times. Not too much "happens" in the book and it is definitely a character-driven novel but I loved it. I think what I loved so much was the fresh look at a 41 year-old woman. It is rare to read about a character that age who is not either married and feeling like her life is in a rut, or newly divorced and wondering what comes next. Ginger is neither married nor divorced and since I am her age and single but dating and in no way feeling like an old maid, I found it very refreshing. All too often when I read books about women 35-45, I feel backwards and old so I loved that Ginger was neither of the two. Her interactions with her nieces and nephews reminded me a bit of my relationship with my niece and nephew. Ginger is the fun aunt who can interact with them on their level while still being a grown up and I think I do the same. The conversations between Ginger and Geri where Geri kept telling Ginger she wished she was as young with so much ahead of her made me feel good instead of a freak of nature and also pretty excited that I am nowhere near 50! I admit that I might not have loved the book so much if it didn't touch me on a personal level but the writing was great and flowed so well that I am pretty certain I would have enjoyed the read even if I was married with kids!
I also found the book unpredictable in that I was not certain where the author was going with the romantic aspect of the book until pretty close to the end and I loved that the Ginger had good options.
My favorite characters were Ginger, her nephew Riley and her father. He was adorable and by "he", I mean both Riley and Ginger's father.
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