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Saturday, August 7, 2010

'And One Last Thing...' by Molly HARPER

From the BLURB:

Lacey Terwilliger’s shock and humiliation over her husband’s philandering prompt her to add some bonus material to Mike’s company newsletter: stunning Technicolor descriptions of the special brand of "administrative support" his receptionist gives him. The detailed mass e-mail to Mike’s family, friends, and clients blows up in her face, and before one can say "instant urban legend," Lacey has become the pariah of her small Kentucky town, a media punch line, and the defendant in Mike’s defamation lawsuit.

Her seemingly perfect life up in flames, Lacey retreats to her family’s lakeside cabin, only to encounter an aggravating neighbor named Monroe. A hunky crime novelist with a low tolerance for drama, Monroe is not thrilled about a newly divorced woman moving in next door. But with time, beer, and a screen door to the nose, a cautious friendship develops into something infinitely more satisfying.

Lacey has to make a decision about her long-term living arrangements, though. Should she take a job writing caustic divorce newsletters for paying clients, or move on with her own life, pursuing more literary aspirations? Can she find happiness with a man who tells her what he thinks and not what she wants to hear? And will she ever be able to resist saying one . . . last . . . thing?

I would say that Molly Harper is a friend-defining author. She writes the types of books that you proudly pass along to friends and if they hand them back to you after reading and say, “I just didn’t get it” or “I didn’t find her all that funny” then they’re ex-communicated. Cut-off and cut adrift! Molly Harper just inspires that kind of loyalty and passion in her readers... and with good cause!

Molly Harper is a chick-lit-romance-genius. I fell in love with her and her ‘Jane Jameson’ paranormal romance series. And in ‘One Last Thing...’, her first contemporary romance, I fall a little bit more in love/creepy-stalker-reader-infatuation with Ms Harper...

‘And One Last Thing...’ is a story of crushing blows and fist-pumping feminism. Lacey Terwilliger has become a cliché at 30 when she discovers that her husband, Mike, has been boning his secretary. In a fit of rage she e-mails a newsletter detailing Mike’s sexcapades to his colleagues, friends and family... and gets slapped with a divorce and lawsuit in the same day. Lacey’s wronged-woman rant goes viral and Lacey has to escape the media furore in the wake of her lawsuit. She decides to play hermit in her grandmother’s abandoned cabin where her solitary wallowing is interrupted by a handsome Hugh Jackman-lookalike called ‘Lefty’ Monroe.

It is at the cabin that Lacey finds peace, orgasms, acceptance, guilt and her literay voice...

It’s no secret that I love Molly Harper. Her ‘Jane Jameson’ series made her an instant-buy author for me, ‘And One Last Thing...’ reiterates why. Harper had me snorting and convulsing within the first chapter, and by the end of the book my stomach muscles were sore from belly-aching laughs.

How to describe Harper’s acerbic wit? She’s a little bit of everything I love and find funny; her characters speak a language I understand and march to the beat of a drum I can hear. Lacey and Jane Jameson’s sense of humour (which is ultimately Molly Harper’s humour) is a dash of Veronica Mars, a splash of Gilmore Girls, a head-nod to Joss Whedon and a salute to Tina Fey. Screw ‘whiskers on kittens’, those funnies are a few of my favourite things!

Molly Harper changes genres from ‘paranormal’ to ‘contemporary’ and loses none of her writing flavour. She seems to enjoy putting her female heroines through the emotional ringer; tearing them down only to make building them up that much sweeter to read. Lacey is absolutely put through her paces in the beginning of the book; lamenting everything about her marriage from Mike’s cheating, to their stilted love-life (he thought ‘racy’ was having sex in a camping tent). Harper also isn’t afraid to write what every woman thinks (at least once in her life) – everything from secretly despising ‘earth tones’ in the home, to navigating the purchase of a vibrator.

And then Monroe walks onto the scene.... right when Lacey is at her most emotional and irrational, a hunky Wolverine-looking next-door-neighbour is dropped into her lap and things perk up. Monroe and Lacey are H-O-T, but I mostly loved them because their repartee was high-notch and hilarious. They bounce off of one another effortlessly and their scenes are fantastic!
“I don’t hate my ex,” I protested. “I just want him alone, broke, bald, impotent, toothless, fat, and wailing and twitching in a twisted tiny ball of spastic misery.”
He shuddered. “Wow, that was visual.”
“You seem fine now,” I conceded. “Somewhat socially maladjusted, but fine.”
He smiled cheekily. “’I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong. But I grew strong. I’ll learn how to get along.’”
“Fine. Make fun of me. In case you’re wondering, this is why people don’t like you.”
“I’m not making fun,” he insisted, though he couldn’t cover his impulse to snicker. “But do you see how that damn song gets into your head?”
I especially loved Lacey because, whether true or not, I thought there was quite a bit of Molly Harper superimposed on the character. I don’t mean the cheating spouse thing (at least, I hope not!) – but part of Lacey ‘finding herself’ was her discovering she has a talent for fiction writing. We get to read Lacey slog through writing sex scenes, get over her fear of the word ‘penis’, navigate the scary terrain of literary agents and hammer out an entire novel. This was all a fascinating little glimpse into Molly Harper’s writing mind, a very revealing and interesting glimpse.

I also liked Lacey because the destruction of her marriage wasn’t a big, catastrophic event in her life. After getting over her initial shock and hurt, Lacey was able to step back and examine the pitfalls of her unhappy marriage and accept that maybe both she and Mike caused its downfall. It wasn’t any particular trigger that broke them apart, rather a down-ward slide into melancholy and disinterest. What killed the marriage was the ‘coasting along’ that eventually turned into a downhill battle. Yes, ‘And One Last Thing...’ is a fantastic chick-lit read with plenty of laughs, but Harper also uses the novel to discuss some big marriage ideals and disasters and question the whole institution. This is a book chock-full of funny, but with real heart and intelligence to back it up.

I’m not surprised that I loved ‘And One Last Thing...’. Molly Harper rules, and I am embedded in her fan-club. She writes funny like it’s nobody’s business, and her romances are lush to read. And as if that’s not enough reason to love this book, Molly Harper has a chapter entitled; ‘Even Jesus Hates Miley Cyrus’.... I want to cry a little bit at the brilliance.

5/5

4 comments:

  1. LOL I LOVE Molly Harper and your review settled it, Im getting this book LOL =D

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  2. I'm so glad you liked it - this one is settled firmly on my keeper shelf! I hope she writes more Contemporaries.

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  3. I think I smiled and laughed through this entire book! Oh and "friend-defining author" LOL so very right!

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  4. "I would say that Molly Harper is a friend-defining author. She writes the types of books that you proudly pass along to friends and if they hand them back to you after reading and say, “I just didn’t get it” or “I didn’t find her all that funny” then they’re ex-communicated. Cut-off and cut adrift!"

    LOL I love this!! I admit, I might have felt that way about a book and a friend now and then.

    Great review, you've convinced me, I need to read this book!

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