Friday, April 26, 2013

Whole Latte Life by Joanne Demaio

Whole Latte Life by Joanne Demaio ISBN 9781466427501

One of the difficulties with writing book reviews is if you 'give away' any part of the story there are howls of protest that one has 'spoiled' the story. Many times it is hard to write a review, especially for and to not try to give the story away without offending the "Spoiler Alert" police. This is the review that I wrote for but I feel that I couldn't say quit everything that I wanted to. Sara Beth was suffering from severe depression, she was very tied, still, to her dead mother's apron strings; she was still emailing her and writing her letters in her journal as well as calling her phone number. It was very obvious that she cared more for her dead mother than she did for her husband and three children. I found her a very hard character to like, while Rachel was the kind of woman I would love to have for a friend. Willing to love and yet willing to confront. I loved Rachel's story so much more than Sara Beth's and it was almost as if Sara Beth's story was the back drop to allow Rachel and Michael's story to exist.


This is Joanne Demaio’s debut novel. I had read her second book, Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans first. While there is some overlap of characters and places in the two novels, it is not essential to read the books in order to understand what is going on. They are stand alone novels.
The book starts out with Rachel and Sara Beth in New York City for a weekend to celebrate their 40th birthdays. Sara Beth goes to the restroom and doesn’t come back. Eventually, Rachel checks the restroom and doesn’t see her. When one of the restaurant employees hands her a note stating that Sara Beth, was basically going out on her own to find herself, Rachel panics. In the last few years, Sara Beth had gotten pregnant at 38, long after all maternity clothing and baby items were gone out of the house. She had lost her mother whom she was close to to a brain aneurysm. She was frustrated about not having achieved many of her life goals including opening an antique shop that she and her mother had shopped for items for it for many years.

Rachel in her panic to find Sara Beth ends up confronting a mounted policeman for help. As the story unfolds she becomes better acquainted with him. As I don’t want to spoil the book for you, I won’t go into the story any more other than to say it was a very different one with a lot of the characters taking a look at themselves and the changes they may need to face.

Sara Beth was a very different sort of character than one usually finds in a novel. She appears to be suffering from true clinical depression, although she had been hiding it so well her best friend Rachel and her husband Tom never really noticed it. But she crashes at the point of the New York weekend. As the story progresses, you will see many of the things that had been weighing on her. She also has a very forgiving and loving family and best friend as they go on this ride with her.

I think one of the strongest things about this book is the author knows and writes her characters as flawed, imperfect people that are still deserving of love and attention. But aren’t we all like that? I do think however that Sara Beth, besides the changes she makes in her life, should also get lined up with some professional help so that she can make long term changes in her life. A problem that I had with the book, and it is a small one, was money for the most part was not a problem. Everyone had money to spend in sufficient quantities for whatever they wanted to do, whether vacationing at a beach house for weeks, going the NYC for the weekend, going out for dinner, buying jewelry, actually buying anything. As someone that has always had to count her pennies, books where there seems to be an open wallet, ‘take what you want’ tends to offend me a bit. In this novel, it took away form the realism of the book, especially when it comes to Sara Beth’s wedding and engagement rings. Read the book and see what I’m talking about.
For book clubs, there is a reader’s guide at the back of the book.


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