Friday, May 16, 2008

"Certain Girls" Jennifer Weiner

I've been waiting a long time to read this book. In fact I've had it on hold from my local library from 10/06/07, and I couldn't wait until it came in. I was fully prepared to be disappointed. That sounds bad, but let me explain. "Certain Girls" is Weiner's follow-up novel to her previous work "Good in Bed". I loved "Good in Bed". It has a special place on my bookshelf and I even chose that book as the one I took with me to the hospital when I had my son Jarek (you'd be amazed at how much reading you can do with a quiet, well-behaved newborn at your side). "Certain Girls" is the story of Cannie, the main character in "Good in Bed" 12 years after she's had her daughter Joy. She's married now, raising her daughter, living the good (safe) life. I thought that I wouldn't like this book because I loved the Cannie in her 20's from "Good in Bed" and I wasn't sure that I would like the older version (have I mentioned that I have issues with change?).

Thankfully, I was wrong, and I loved this book as much as her previous ones. The story is told from two perspectives: Cannie's, and her daughter Joy's. Joy is almost 13 now, and going through all of the things that teenagers normally experience, namely hating her overprotective, overbearing mother. Cannie is trying to balance married life with being a mother, and she's also dealing with the aftermath of the novel that she wrote when Joy was a baby, essentially as revenge on her ex-boyfriend who had left her pregnant and alone. To add to the things that Cannie's dealing with, her husband Peter wants to have a baby. Since Cannie is infertile following an accident that she had while pregnant with Joy, which caused her to come two months early, their options are adoption or hiring a surrogate, neither one an easy decision to be taken lightly.

The rest of the novel follows these two as they survive everyday life with each other while forming a bond between mother and daughter that will last a lifetime. I'm not ashamed to say that I cried during this book, and not even during the parts that you would think you would cry. Weiner does such an effective job of conveying emotions such as teenage angst and motherly love that it really did bring me to tears (My three-year-old saw me crying and came up to me and said "Does Mommy have a boo-boo? I kiss it better!") Quite obviously I loved it, as both a mother and as a former teenager, and I can't recommend it enough. If you haven't already read it, I would suggest that you do, and soon!

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