Thursday, September 16, 2010

Goodnight Nobody: Formulaic disappointment

Goodnight NobodyGoodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I thought I had read more Jennifer Weiner, because she appears to be everywhere, but I guess I've only read one of her previous novels: Little Earthquakes, which I liked very much. I also enjoyed the movie version of In Her Shoes with Shirley Maclaine, although I never read the book.

Goodnight Nobody was fine--nothing incredibly memorable, I'm afraid. In fact, in the first few chapters I thought about stopping, but I picked up the book at a book sale and figured I might as well keep reading. I would actually give it 2-1/2 stars if that were an option.

In her comments at the end of the book, Weiner says she's a big fan of Susan Isaacs, as am I, but I think this misses the mark a bit. Isaacs is known for writing really strong female characters. While Weiner tries hard, her main character, Kate, is supposed to be brilliant, but she does some very stupid things. She's stuck in Upchurch, Connecticut, bored to pieces as a (rich!) stay-at-home mom who seems to be perpetually falling apart even though she's got her three kids in day care and has additional help with a babysitter. One of the other moms in the community gets murdered, so Kate decides to solve the mystery with the help of her filthy-rich sidekick/best friend Janie. Protagonists in these books always have filthy-rich best friends who try to steer the silly main characters straight.

Throw in cad Evan, who Kate was in love with years past, and faithful, steadfast but boring husband Ben. Plus spunky daughter and wild twin sons. Not to mention boring, snobby neighbors.

I read all the way through to the end, which says something, but I'm sure I won't remember much about this book in 3 years' time. Hence the two stars.

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