Sunday, September 9, 2012

Baby Proof- Emily Giffin, A Book Review

As I said in my last post about Elle and Blair Fowler’s book “Beneath the Glitter”, I recently finished studying and taking the last section of the CPA Exam. (Still keeping my fingers crossed that I passed). When I was done- I was looking for a good book to read. I had a few on my kindle, and several that I’d purchased over the last year- but none were calling to me. A lot of girls I know have announced pregnancies, or had babies lately, and so babies had been on my mind. I’d read an Emily Giffin book before, and thought it was pretty good, and so when I saw “Baby Proof” at Target 25% off in the mass-produced paperback and was able to snag it for under $5, I thought I’d pick it up. 

I read the book in under 24 hours, it wasn’t long, about 364 pages with probably a size 10 font on those small pages, so the book moved pretty quickly. After reading a second book by Emily Giffin, I’ve decided this. She is an author of women’s literature; however, she is not a fluffy ‘chick-lit’ kind of gal. She writes books that dig a little deeper below the surface, and are not that light, fun, fluffy, light-hearted beach read. Her books, at least for me, make me think about life decisions. The first one I read was “Love the One Your With” so keep that in mind, I haven’t read Something Burrowed, or Something Blue- which I think might be more in the traditional genre of chick-lit.

Warning: This review will contain some “spoilers” but to be honest, I would have read the book even if I’d read my own review. 

In summary “Baby Proof” is about a 33-35 year old woman, Claudia, who has never wanted children. She meets her “soul mate” Ben, and the two build their relationship around the idea that all they want from life is each other. Meanwhile, their “couple best friends”, who originally didn’t want children, end up getting pregnant. This ends up causing Claudia’s first husband to question their decision not to have children. To make a long story short, they get a divorce because Claudia is unwilling to compromise on her decision. Eventually Claudia moves on to an older man, who is ‘perfect for her’ by the book definition, but she finds herself deciding that inexplicably she just doesn’t “love him” enough to be with him. Claudia ends up deciding that for Ben, she could have a baby, because he is her soul mate. By the end of the book the two are back together. 

While I could give the writing and the story line of this book a “three-star” review, I have some serious problems with the story. 

First of all, Claudia is so strong in her conviction that she doesn’t want children. She ends her marriage practically without any hesitation over the fact that she will never change her mind on the matter. Honestly, it was probably the fastest divorce I’ve ever read. And then Emily Giffin has the character 300 pages later, deciding that because she loves her ex-husband so much, and no other man could possibly complete her as much- so sure, she can have his baby. What? I feel like that sends a horrible message. Sure, the protagonist in this story is a “strong” “successful” female, but the message that gives me seems like something out of the 1920s. Sure it’s masked in the idea that she’ll do anything for “love” but it seems backwards.

Second of all, the main character ends up living with her best friend. Her best friend is a 30 something in a delusional relationship with a married man who lives out-of-town. You get the impression that this relationship has been somewhat lengthy and at one point this character attempts to get herself pregnant to get the married man to leave his wife. It doesn’t end up working out, but the fact that when this happens, Claudia just ‘goes with it’ really bothers me. If my best friend did that I couldn’t sit there and blindly let her think that it was okay. I would have to make her see the light of day, and I can’t see why this didn’t happen.

Finally, the ending to this story made it feel like of like a pointless read. In the end Claudia is back with her husband, on the pretense that she can have a baby with him, but they’re not actively discussing it at the end of the book. They are just happy to be back together again. I just feel kind of cheated by that; I feel like I spent an entire day reading a book to get a “just kidding we’re fine”. 

What were your thoughts? Have you read this book? Do you plan to read this book? If you don’t, what do you think of what you’ve read of the book in my review? I’m just interested on everyone else’s thoughts on this book.

Essie's East Hampton Cottage- Swatch Included

This past week I took a few days off of work after my exam to kind of regroup. I had planned the days off months ago thinking that I'd want them to kind of 'celebrate being done'. I didn't know I'd be filled with the overwhelming feeling of dread, being pretty sure that I didn't actually pass my test. Anyway- results don't come out for a few more days, so no more harping. With my time off I refreshed and decided that I kind of felt like caring about my appearances again. That has gone way to the bottom of the important list lately. I went out to pick up some things, new mascara, new eye-shadow, and at the time I'd been thinking a nice berry-read nail color for fall. I stared at the Essie's in my Target for a long time not able to over-come the feeling of, "I have one so similar at home”.

I started looking at the neutral colors and ended up deciding that a clean, fresh nail would go more along the lines of my fresh-start, so I picked up Essie’s East Hampton Cottage. The application of this was probably a 3/5. It was not great, a little streaky at first, but with the second coat I thought it looked fine. I love the color on my skin tone. It really reminds me of ballerina slippers. It is probably best described as a satin finish, which is probably why it reminds me so much of ballerina slippers. Honestly, I really like it. I like that it isn’t a ‘creamy light pink” or a “French manicure pink”. It’s that neutral feel with a little twist. The picture below was at work the next morning (Note my 403(b) CPE book in the background). It’s now Sunday night (I did them Wednesday night) and they still look pretty good. A little tip chipping, but the kind that’s not really noticeable because of the shade. What do you think?

Beneath The Glitter- A Book Review

I recently took the last part of the CPA exam. As per my usual, end of stressful study session routine I decided I needed to empty my brain and read some fluff. My first choice was Emily Giffin's "Baby Proof" (separate review coming on that). It didn't fit the bill; it wasn't exactly the right degree of "fluffy". Since the buzz among the girls I follow on twitter was about the new book coming out by the “Fowler Sisters” I decided to give it a read.

For those unfamiliar, the Fowler sisters are Elle and Blair. Elle is about 24, and Blair is 19. The girls originally from the south-east became what some would call “Youtube Famous” around 2009-2010. Both girls have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, a separately run-website, and contracts with a lot of pretty decent brands. They have a lot of loyal followers, and a lot of people who dislike them. I would classify them as a D list celebrity. They really are only ‘famous’ among those who know them, and while that is a large following, it’s not huge compared to the everyday celebrity by any means. If you’re interested, and haven’t heard of them you can find them under the names “AllThatGlitters21” and “JuicyStar07” on youtube.

On to the book, the easiest way for this might be to play ‘the “pro-con” game, and let you draw your own conclusions. 

-  --The relationship among the sisters feels like the type of things real sisters might worry about. Am I being too clingy, is she trying to mother me, why does she care so much about my life, etc. I am not incredibly close with my sister, but these are the kinds of things I feel towards my closest friend, so I can believe it.
-     --The prologue is intriguing. You find yourself wondering what might be going on, and how it got to that point.
-The w
riting is colorful. If you’ve seen Elle’s videos you’ve picked up on the idea that she wants to convey certain feelings a lot of the time, a feeling of whimsy, coziness, or sophistication. Love her or hate her, she can get her point across. I felt that way with the book as well. She was able to really convey the type of scene she had in her mind.

-      --So as to not give away too much of the plot line, there is one character who seemed too fairy-tale to me. He is always there and able to come to one of the character’s rescue. (If you do read this, or have read it, it would be Sophia’s rescue). I understand that a lot of books that fall into this genre have unbelievable characters, and normally I am okay with it, but this one…. He was just over that line. I didn’t like it.
-        --I felt myself reading this book, waiting for the story to begin. I thought it was kind of interesting that it focused more on their ‘lives’ and careers outside of ‘youtube’ but- it felt like the story fell on all the blank pages after the last chapter. I felt like the actual story started, right where the book ended.
-        --I felt a little bit like I was reading a blog from time-to-time. I understand it was a first novel, but something about the writing novel reminded me more of one of those books that is all in text messages and emails, than it was a standard novel. I didn’t like that feeling.

I would give the book a solid 2 stars. It was by no means the worst book I’ve ever read. However, at the end of the day, it just felt a little bit… boring. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good. It felt like I was reading a blog, or a letter home to a friend, about what Blair and Elle actually spent their day doing- because let’s be honest- the story of “Ava and Sophia London” is the story of Elle and Blair Fowler. I would kind of put this in the category of “Feels like it was an extended short story written by a high-school freshman”. The book is set up to have a sequel, and at the end of my Kindle Copy it says that it’s due out in summer 2013, right now the jury is still out on whether I’ll read it. However, if I had a 13 year old daughter, I wouldn’t stop her. It is exactly the book I would expect a 13 year old to read. Unfortunately I’m 23, so it’s just a little bland for my taste. That being said, no one ever said their target audience was stuffy-CPA-candidates. In fact, I can assure you, it wasn’t.


I haven't blogged in a long time, a really long time. I don't feel the need to apologize, because I don't really 'promote' my blog any more, I will text a few people and let them know I updated it, but it does seem a tiny bit futile... pretty much the only people reading this already keep up with me. Anyway, missing as a title for this blog is perfect. Not only have I been missing in action, I've been missing my internet life. Would you believe this is the first time I have been on my own lap-top in probably 3 months? I unplugged it and put it in the closet at some point when I was studying, and I never took it back out.

I feel like I always come back to blogging when I'm dying to reinvent myself, or better myself. One time my mom made the comment that I am always making goals, kind of one of those "picking on you, but I find it cute" comments. And she's right- I am. She followed it up by the comment that even if I never meet them, it never stops me from making new ones. I think that's kind of true, and I think I like that about myself.

I am going to try and get back to blogging on a somewhat regular basis. I have some hobbies that I am dabbling  in, and I'm reading again, so I would love to do book reviews. I will hopefully get my final CPA exam score released this week, and maybe I'll know for sure if I can start blogging again... but in the mean time I am going to work on some posts about some different things. It would seem like a lot to make one giant post, so I'll do them separately. :)