Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Practical Jean by Trevor Cole
Synopsis From Back Cover:
Jean Vale Horemarsh is an ordinary small-town woman with the usual challenges of middle age. She's content, mostly, with the life she's built: a semi successful career as a ceramics artist, a close collection of women friends (if you ignore the terrible falling-out she had with Cheryl all those years ago), and a comfortable marriage with a kind if extraordinary man. And then Jean see her mother go through the final devastating months of cancer, and realizes that her fondest wish is to protect her dearest friends from the indignities of again and illness. That's when she decides to kill them all....
Have I ever told you guys how much I love my sense of humor. It tends to lean towards the darker side of things, which is why I find some circumstances funnier than most will. I guess a perfect example, a short one anyway, is from the movie Titanic. I'm sure you know which one I'm talking about, though I didn't really enjoy it that much. There is one moment that cracks me up every time I see it though. When the boat is sinking, tail end up in the air, passengers start to fall like confetti. There is one in particular that makes me laugh out loud, I know it's callous but sorry. It's the guy who falls and hits the propeller blade, the thunking sounds he makes sends me into stitches. Now you might say I'm morbid, but it will give you an insight into why I loved this book so much.
I'm not saying that I laughed out loud the entire time I was reading it, because I didn't. But I did find a lot of it humorous enough to say this was one of the most entertaining books I've read in a long time. Jean is one of those rare characters that I love despite everything that she does. She is a woman lost in pain who decides on being practical for the first time in her life. Unfortunately for her friends, that means killing them off before they grow old and suffer in the way her mother did.
It was a joy and a thrill to to watch the internal conflict as she meandered her way and started knocking of those closest to her. The only stipulation is that she has to make them as happy as she can before she does it. In once case that involves sleeping with the one that has had a thing for her since college. I love the way Jean is able to twist herself in an elaborate pretzel in order to justify what she is doing. Much like Serial Mom and those college kids from The Last Supper, Jean starts off doing what she thinks is right and just. For the most part, she is firm in that thinking by the end as well. She has her moments of doubt, but all it takes is remembering the pain and suffering her mother went through for Jean to realize she is on the right path no matter the consequences to herself.
This was a wonderfully complex and inspired look at friendship and morality in an age where both things seem to be expendable. The author, through dark humor and brilliant writing, was able to bring Jean and her friends to life in such a way that made me want to be Jean's friend, despite the risk.
I would like to thank Trish of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read/review this books. Please visit the tour page to read other reviews.