Wallflower in Bloom: A Novel by Claire Cook
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Don't look at me like that. Sure, 3 stars means I did like this book, and I'm not even in the target demographic (a bit too male). I'm allowed to read something different once in a while. And enjoy it. So there. Besides, I like Dancing with the Stars.
What worked for me: The deadpan voice of the first-person narrator. Given her messed up personal situation and her hapless reactions, she could have some across as whining. By keeping her reasonably level-headed, the author makes it possible for us to stick with her. And by not making her too empowered or snarky, we don't get put off, either. Beyond that, the prose, dialog, settings, and descriptions are all first-rate. There is nothing to complain about in terms of basic writing skills.
What didn't really work for me, once it occurred to me, is believing that this powerful, effective personal assistant for a popular pop figure is so easily reduced to a hapless, clueless shlub. I was also put off by the completely inane relationship she has with her brother and the rest of her family. Sure, this is the source of conflict for the story. But this is one of those conflicts that could be resolved in about two minutes if just one of the participants would act like a grown up, instead of a thirteen-year-old.
As for all of the rigmarole dealing with Dancing with the Stars and Hollywood: this is reasonably believable and mostly fun. In some ways, I wish it could have been richer. Just as it all seemed to get rolling, everything is resolved. This is perhaps due to the short length of the book. I read it in only a few hours, spread over several days. This will be a fun beach read for those in its target audience. As for the rest of us, you may like it, too (especially if you are a DWTS fan, like me).
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review.
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