Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Outtakes from a Marriage by Ann Leary

(Previously reviewed by Heather)

Summary: (Good Heavens this is the longest summary EVER!) Julia and Joe Ferraro are living the good life in Manhattan now that Joe’s finally made it; he’s the star of a hit TV show and has just been nominated for a Golden Globe award. After many lean years, they’ve got a grand Upper West Side apartment and an Amagansett beach house, and their two kids go to elite private schools. Even better, Julia and Joe are still madly in love.Or so Julia thinks until the fateful evening when she accidentally hears a voice mail on Joe’s phone— a message left by a sultry-sounding woman who clearly isn’t just a friend. Suddenly Julia is in a tailspin, compulsively checking Joe’s messages, stalking him in cyberspace, and showing up unannounced on his sets, wondering all along if she should confront him. Julia’s search forces her to consider the possibility that in the long process of helping Joe become something, she has become a bit of a “nothing,” as her daughter once described her to her class on career day. A big husband-stalking nothing.When Julia and Joe first met, she was an edgy East Village girl who wrote music reviews for the Village Voice and threw famed parties in a gritty downtown loft with her friends. Joe was a shy, awkward drama student who followed her around like a lovesick spaniel. After he won her heart, Julia helped Joe evolve into a roguishly handsome charmer who became increasingly obsessed with his looks and his career. Julia, meanwhile, settled into doting motherhood and a new life of comfy clothes and parenting associations.Now, faced with the looming awards show and the possibility of a destroyed marriage, Julia embarks on an accelerated self-improvement routine of Botox, hair extensions, and erotically charged shrink sessions while dodging the sancti-mommies who lie in wait for her at her son’s preschool each day.A unique take on the perennially popular issue of women trying not to lose themselves in matrimony and motherhood, Outtakes from a Marriage is expertly and humorously set against the Manhattan preschool mafia, the Hollywood machine, and the ticking clock of a waiting red carpet.

My Review: This book was our MOMS Club book pick for the month of February and, as such, I was hoping that it would provide some valuable insight into the modern marriage or at the very least a tidy story about the idiosyncrasies of married life (that ended happily so as to not send me on an emotional bender). Alas, it seems it was not to be. While I enjoyed the basic plotline about a middle-age woman who thinks her movie-star husband is cheating and zooms wildly into a world full of paranoia and cellular stalking, the writing was only "ehhh." If that makes any sense. The story was, however, a fairly accurate description of how women (and I'm speaking generally here) tend to analyze and over analyze every living thing that our partner does, says, wears, breathes, and eats in a neurotic attempt to detect any hidden meaning. And if they could be cheating??!!?? Well, then it just gets ridiculous. So, for its' commentary on women and trust issues, I found Outtakes to be an enjoyable and semi-engaging read. It's fatal flaw however, was the non-committal ending. You know, the one where it ends in such a way that is so vague that the reader can allow their mind to finish the story in whatever way will make them happy. It felt like a cop out. I figure if I'm going to read a 260 page book it dang well better have an ending.

My rating: 3 stars. At to me that means that it was fun and okay but a one time read at most. And for the love of Pete TELL ME HOW IT ENDS. Plenty of swearing -fyi.

If I could sum this book up in one phrase it would be: Wow, minus the wedding ring its my freshman year of college. How fun to get to relive that all over again.

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