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The Way Life Should Be: A Novel Paperback – September 16, 2014
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Thirty-three-year-old New Yorker Angela Russo, dissatisfied with a career that amounts to gliding across a smooth plateau of predictability and fed up with abysmal blind dates, responds to an online personal ad written by Rich, a sailing instructor from Mount Desert Island, Maine. Angela begins to fall in love with the idea of Maine life just as much as she finds herself falling for Rich, and when her career suddenly goes up in flames, she moves to Mount Desert Island. Once she arrives, however, she learns that her vision of perfect New England life—and her perfect New England man—is far removed from reality. Rather than return to New York, Angela rents a rundown cottage and begins teaching an impromptu cooking class (based on recipes from her Italian grandmother). She befriends an eclectic handful of locals and carves out a new identity for herself. Initially, this tale of a lovelorn city girl out of her element feels like another foray into well-covered territory. But Kline (Desire Lines; Sweet Water) has a perfect sense of character and timing, and her vivid digressions on food (recipes are included) add sugar and spice to what could have been a stale premise. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Angela Russo, a 33-year-old event planner in New York City, has a job she finds monotonous, a lackluster love life, and a best friend who suggests trying an online dating service. Angela signs up and, on a whim, extends the site's geography search to include Maine, picturing herself in a cozy, rustic cottage by the shore. Before the inveterate Italian cook can say cacciatore, she's met her Maine manthe handsome sailing instructor Richard Saunders. He sends her a flurry of haikus and flirtatious e-mails, and after a professional disaster befalls her, Angela finds herself driving up the coast to explore a new life with him. When she arrives in Maine, however, it is not the picture-perfect storybook scene she anticipated. But with her love of cooking and dreams of a cottage by the sea as guiding lights, Angela learns to live life and achieve success on her own terms. Boyle, Katherine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
As an event planner, she has a career of sorts; one she fell into. So perhaps she shouldn't have been surprised when an error derails that career, and leaves her sorting through options.
So at this particular time, she grabs for what she imagines is a soul mate, a man she met online and who runs a fishing boat on an island in Maine, Mount Desert Island. Driving north to find the life she had dreamed about, she is stunned to discover, after only a couple of weeks, that the man she thought was her soul mate is a player, and has been connecting online with many other women.
But she loves Maine. So she moves into a little cabin nearby and starts to live off of her savings. A friend, Flynn, who runs the local coffee house becomes a guide...even a mentor, and soon Angela is giving cooking classes and dreaming of opening a restaurant.
The Way Life Should Be is an inspirational story of going for the gusto. Starting over. And reinventing oneself. Colorful characters inhabit Angela's new life and make it possible for her to carve out some new dreams. And as the characters, her new friends in Maine, bond over the classes, sharing their hopes and dreams as they tell their stories, she is reminded of a truth she has known:
"These are the chronicles of legend, the tales we tell over and over, the stories that remind us we are not alone."
Will she find her dream? Can she connect with someone whose stories will mesh with hers? Is Maine where it will happen?
I enjoyed the colorful and sometimes quirky characters, the settings that came alive for me, and at the end of the book is a section of recipes like those Angela taught to her cooking class; the ones she learned from Nonna. A delightful and feel-good story that earned 4 stars.
I definitely find this book to be more "Women's Fiction" than "Chick Lit." While these two genres are sometimes used interchangeably, for me the line is that Chick Lit is more romantically based while Women's Fiction tends more towards introspection in the characters. There is a small romantic element in this novel, but it is more a plot convention than anything (and leads to what I found to be a rather amusing exchange about halfway through the novel).
I liked Angela as a character and I could relate to her--I understand that feeling of not being in the right place and still trying to find home. While I found her family situation less than unique, it still fit with the character. I could completely understand why Angela would move to Maine almost on a whim and, more importantly, I could understand why she stayed.
I like Kline's style of writing, but it is different here than I expected after reading Orphan Train. In this book, she is lighter and more prone to humor. Part of this I expect is due to the subject matter, but it is still markedly different from her most recent (and successful) novel.
The Way Life Should Be is definitely a lighter read and I think that readers expecting something meatier would be disappointed. However, I think one must judge this book on its own merits and, for me, it is one of the more successful Women's Fiction titles I've read recently