Thursday, March 27, 2008

ASK AGAIN LATER by Jill A. Davis

Well, the heroine in this in novel really has her nose wedged in her belly button pretty tight. Don’t let that put you off though. Personally, I feel if the hero or heroine is all perfect or powerful starting out, there’s no point in reading the novel. I’d be bored out of my mind, regardless.
It’s no wonder Emily has her nose stuck in her bellybutton. Her parents do, as well. As a trained nanny and mommy, I know it’s essential for a couple to have a support system in place when they have their first child. This is how they make the transition from couple to family. Without making that vital transition, the family’s emotional and psychological growth is stunted. Emily’s father never made the transition from abused son to grown man to husband to father. Instead, he relied on Sex-as-a-Drug to substitute for Real Love. Needless to say, that destroyed his marriage early on. Emily’s mother substituted making beds and shopping for connecting with Real Love. Emily’s sister is following her mother’s example and is now pregnant, and in danger of repeating the same emotional tragedy. Of all of them, only Emily is really trying to fix herself. She has a wonderful therapist.
And so Emily is still struggling to grow up at the age of thirty and I applaud her for that. Few have the same courage and determination. Most go along ignoring how messed up they are while continuing to use or abuse whatever they’re using and abusing to numb the pain. It’s scary to change, which is why only children are brave enough to do it without reservation.
The catalyst which flings Emily forward in her quest to complete her own soul is her mother being diagnosed with breast cancer. At this point, Emily has already sabotaged her current romantic relationship, which is fairly typical for someone who’s grown up in her kind of dysfunctional family. Emily’s mother’s mother isn’t even talking to her. Emily’s sister is too busy shopping to compensate for her sheer terror of becoming a mother. Interestingly, Emily’s father is freaking out in his own way too, even though he’s been divorced for a couple of decades. Like a lot of couples who divorce, Emily’s parents do love each other. They’re just clueless about how to connect and live together. Anyway, Emily’s the only one with the presence of mind to do something. She quits her job and runs to Mom’s side. Of course, Mom just wants her there. Mom doesn’t actually want to ‘connect’ on a deep level. That’s even scarier than cancer. Oh, and Dad ropes Emily into going to work for him as a receptionist, even though she’s a law school graduate. And she goes because, well, she’s still a little girl who needs her daddy and daddy is still trying to be a daddy and is still just as clueless about how.
Ah, what a family. But, when you think about it, most families are at least a little screwed up. Families are made up of human beings and there are no perfect human beings.
This is not a Romance novel, so you’re not promised a happy ending. Therefore, you’ll just have to read it in order to find out if Emily succeeds in her personal quest. Will she ‘save’ her family? We’ll she learn to give and receive love? In Real Life, ‘living happily ever after’ is a lot of hard work, but so worth it.
Here’s a quote to give you a taste of this novel: “Psychologists say our ‘love maps’ are established by the time we’re seven years old. At seven, I loved trolls. I loved diaries. My father had become a stranger. My love map is really more like a set of sketchy directions scribbled on a cocktail napkin.”
The Heat Level for this novel is Mildly Sensual. ASK AGAIN LATER ranks at Tame on the Gore O’ Meter.
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Kimber Chin said...

This is written in first person then?

Considering how tough it is (or so I'm told) to get first person novels published, I'm thinking this has to have some slammin' writing.

Kimber An said...

Yes, it is written in First Person. I'm not crazy about First Person, but in contemporary settings in seems to work well. Some authors are simply very good at it too.