Everyone has a way of dealing with problems or escaping from reality for a while – for some people it’s soap operas, for some it’s alcohol, for some it’s exercise….for Dora, it’s books. When she feels disappointed with life, or with herself, she holes up in her apartment for days on end, and reads book after book after book. And lately, Dora has been feeling very disappointed; she is separated from her second husband, she hasn’t worked for five years, she eats too much pizza and drinks too much wine. When she meets sexy, funny, clever Fred, who works at – where else? – the local bookstore, they start a relationship. But when he shows his true colours, she wonders whether he is really the man for her.
I’m not sure what I expected from this book – I looked forward to reading about someone who adored books, as I thought I would be able to relate to her. This is actually more a chick-lit type read than I was expecting (which is not necessarily a bad thing).
The story is told from Dora’s point of view, and I did feel that she was a very believable character. She wasn’t always easy to like – she could be prickly, and looked down on people a lot. I got actually quite annoyed with her when she described different types of readers and how they irritated her; people read for many different reasons, but most of those reasons weren’t good enough for Dora. However, she did redeem herself in the second half of the story, and I ended up liking her a lot.
Fred’s mother Bea, and his niece Harper, as well as Dora’s sister Virginia, were all very likeable, but unfortunately Fred was one of the most annoying and self-satisfied characters I’ve read about for a while!
The writing flowed well, and was always easy to read, even if some of the events seemed to serve no purpose in the story at all – such as when Dora and her friend Darlene rescue an injured deer.
Overall, I quite enjoyed the book, but I’m not sure that I would be interested in reading anything further by these authors.
(Note: This book was also released under the title ‘Literacy and Longing in L.A.’)