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Review: The Seven Year Bitch by Jennifer Belle

10 Sep

The Seven Year BitchMy rating: 3 of 5 stars

I almost gave up on this book several times before getting to the halfway point, but it picked up for me after that.

Isolde Brilliant used to have a life she recognized. She was working in finance, she had a devoted, if neurotic, husband, and a perfectly acceptable apartment in downtown Manhattan. But once Izzy’s wish to become a mother finally comes true, she is laid off from her job, and her old world falls by the wayside. Although she’s surprised with motherhood’s hidden pleasures-jaunts to the park, bickering with other mothers, and the sense of accomplishment she feels in having made it through her son’s first year-her marriage is on shaky ground and she feels lost. She just can’t quite get a grip on what to do now that she has all-or most-of the things she’s ever wanted.

As Izzy ponders her next move, her best friend announces that she is leaving her husband. Balancing the demands of marriage and motherhood for seven years has made her feel like a nag, a shrew, a…you-know-what, and she’s determined that the only way out is to leave. Izzy tries to avoid a similar fate, but as new challenges and temptations arise for her, she begins to wonder if there might be some inescapable grain of truth in her friend’s outlandish theory.

I think I was (once again) having trouble with the wealthy New York setting.  I thought maybe I’d do better with The Seven Year Bitch than Life After Yes, since the protagonist is closer to my age and married with a child.  I’d also had a career I loved, only to switch gears (somewhat unexpectedly) after having a child.  The world in this book is so foreign to me, but it doesn’t look like it should be. The rules of life aren’t what I’m expecting, and it throws me.

The characters are more outspoken than people in my world, and the language is much stronger than I’d expect (silly of me, given the title). And yes, the protagonist is a bit of a bitch. And a snob. And even given than I don’t really understand the world it’s set in, the situations didn’t ring true to me.

While I’m reading through, I’m trying to figure out whether the author means for there to be this much distance between the reader and the book? Am I just out of it, not edgy enough for this one? Or is it failing to deliver?

I decided to give it one more chance, then pick up something else if it still wasn’t working for me.

And finally, it started to come together. Not a lot, but I became interested in what was happening, even if I still didn’t relate. Even if I still wasn’t sure I was on the same planet as the New York this book is set in.   I was finally able to go with the flow, and accept Isolde for who she was.

There were some very funny moments in the book, and moments of parenthood that I could identify with, even if Isolde’s response weren’t ones that fit in my world.  By the end, I finally felt I could appreciate looking at someone else’s.

The first half of the book was 2.5-3 stars, the second half solidly 3.5 for me, so I’m satisfied with the 3 star rating I gave.

I received this book from the publisher through the Library Thing Early Reviewer program.  Thanks to both for the opportunity to read and review The Seven Year Bitch.

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4 Comments

Posted by on September 10, 2010 in books, reviews

 

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4 responses to “Review: The Seven Year Bitch by Jennifer Belle

  1. Jenny

    September 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I’m sorry this one didn’t work for you. I have been wanting to read this one since BEA (the author was at the BBC reception). I love that wealthy, crazy NYC background though!

     
    • Laura

      September 10, 2010 at 2:00 pm

      I’m sorry I missed her at the BBC reception! I’m actually wondering if I should skip these books in the future or if I should immerse myself and get better acquainted with the setting. By the end, I could get glimpses of why I’d enjoy the book– I don’t have to want to be friends with a character to like exploring their world :-).

       
  2. Lina

    September 12, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    I may not be able to relate to the setting either, but I can appreciate the life crisis that she’s going through. A lovely and honest review, and I have an award for you here 🙂

     

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