Monday, June 28, 2010

Review and Giveaway: Pieces of Happily Ever After by Irene Zutell


From the author's website:
Alice, a former New Yorker, struggles to feel at home in the bizarre world of the San Fernando Valley -- all while holding a job and caring for her young daughter and senile mother. When her attorney husband lands a trophy client - box office queen Rose Maris - things begin to look up.

Then Alex starts working late - a lot. He crunches his paunch into a six pack and trades his Gap ensembles for Armani everything.

Soon, Alex and Rose's affair blazes in the tabloids and Alice is plunged into trash-gossip hell. Her life crumbles around her as she navigates her newly single life through suburban L.A. -- a place rife with porn stars, psycho soccer moms and nutty neighbors obsessed with creating a winter wonderland despite the scorching desert heat.

Is there a chance to wrest Alex from the Sexiest Woman Alive? And if so, would Alice want him back? And what about George, her college sweetheart? Or Johnny, a walking charm-bomb paparazzo? As Alice inventories the rubble of her life, she desperately searches for her bearings and is forced to ask herself what she really wants from life, love and herself.

. . . . . . .

Irene Zutell really has a gift for words. If anyone else had told this story I probably would have put it down and walked away. The storyline itself is sad: Woman is married and has a young child, husband leaves her for a younger/richer/famous client. As if that wasn't enough, her mother has Alzheimer's and is thrown out of her elder care home. Depressing, right? In Ms. Zutell's hands, not so much.

Don't get me wrong, this book was not a barrel of laughs, but Ms. Zutell found humor in almost every part of the story. Okay, the husband is an ass, I'll give you that. But all the craziness made this book a you-can't-cry-because-you're-too-busy-laughing story:

Alice Hirsh's husband has left her for a client - a famous movie-star client - right after Alice almost died. She's left in the house they just bought, hiding with her five-year-old daughter, Gabby, from the paparazzi camped out in her front yard.

Right from the get-go the humor in this book is evident. She's staying inside the house hiding from the paparazzi, running out of food in the house and then the elder care home calls to tell her she's got to bring adult diapers for her mother:

I've got to get it together.
One person's needs depend on me. Another person needs Depends.

The cast of characters in this book is eclectic: A former pron star turned doctor's wife, a psychic, a Winnie-the-Pooh sweatshirt-wearing soccer mom/bar owner, the wacky neighborhood association president, the movie star and the ex-husband(I said they were eclectic, not that I liked them all!), her mother's nurse, and Gabby.

The house on the hill next door is used for filming pron. And Alice's five-year-old daughter thinks all the moaning and groaning they can hear coming from the house is a princess in need of rescue.

The elder care home refuses to keep her mother because she keeps swearing, even though they know she has Alzheimers. After she brings her mother home, at one point she thinks her mother is dying and her mother is trying to speak:

Please mom, please don't say cocksucker, I pray. Please don't let that be your last word. Please, please, please.

Alice's internal monologue was great. This book actually made me feel less paranoid about my own internal monologue :)

This was not a typical hero/heroine story; I don't think there really was a hero. Yes, there was a love interest, but it stayed kind of vague as far as HEA. I didn't like the fact that all the men in this book were less-than-honorable.

I think if you enjoy Women's Fiction you will really enjoy this book. Ms. Zutell addresses real issues women face today - divorce, parenthood/pregnancy, and caring for elderly parents - with a touch of humor; this story was touchingly funny.

I give Pieces of Happily Ever After 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.


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Giveaway:
Thanks to BookSparks PR, I have one copy of Pieces of Happily Ever After to give away. Leave a comment telling me you'd like to read this book - ends July 12. Must be a follower, US only.



This book was provided to me free of charge by BookSparks PR in exchange for an honest review.

17 comments:

  1. This is not generally my normal reading material - but I am going to have to get this one..

    Sometimes I need a book that is different and this one seem to hit all my zany/madcap buttons...

    Thaks for the heads up...

    E.H>

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  2. *waves* I'll add it to mention Friday!

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  3. This seems like a real character driven story that is going to take the reader on an emotional ride. I'd like to read this one.

    lenikaye@yahoo.com

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  4. I'm a follower, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

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  5. Really want this...

    Email: ashleycsy_09@yahoo.com

    Check out my blog and giveaway: Live for this World by Sonya Chung!
    http://ashleybook.blogspot.com/

    **Please sign up for my giveaway: low entries=easier chance of winning**

    Happy reading!
    Ashley C.

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  6. Lol, I should not smile, that is horrible that the daughter thinks that. But hey better than the truth

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  7. Think I would love to read this book.

    CarolNWWong(at)aol(dot)com

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  8. I was reading the blurb and thought this isn't my cup of tea because it seemed like it would be depressing and angst(ie).

    You had me at 'former porn star' :)

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  9. This sounds like a great summer read. I would love to have it.

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  10. I really want to read this!!! Enter me please! jeremywest91@gmail.com
    www.jwestbooks.blogspot.com

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  11. I would love to win this. I follow. Thanks for the chance.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com

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  12. This one sounds like a good one. Please enter me for it.

    I am a follower on gfc

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

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  13. this sounds like a perfect fun summer read

    sports[dot]erikalynn[at]gmail[dot]com

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  14. Please include me in your giveaway.
    Thanks
    Debbie
    debdesk9(at)verizon.net

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  15. It doesn't sound like my kind of book, but oddly enough, I really want to read this.

    thisbookforfree gmail dot com

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  16. Hi! This books sounds like it's filled with drama and a little bit of romance on the side. Would love to read it.

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  17. This giveaway is closed - thank you for entering!!

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