Which could be renamed, Around the World in Thirty Ways ... To Be Single !
I came to this expecting frothy, light-hearted chicklit and that is basically what it delivers, along with a few more poignant moments on the way. The story follows a group of five 30-something female friends from New York, all of whom - for various reasons - find themselves single at the same time and all have their own very different ways of dealing with this, with sometimes tragic or hilarious results. (I won't go into further details or it'll spoil it ! ) The central character, Julie, decides to travel the world and interview women from different cultures to see who has found the "right" way of being single and happy so that she can write a book about it.
My one big criticism was that I thought the descriptions of the different cultures were way too superficial and totally based on stereotypes. As the blurb says, we have the "proud Parisians, the brazen Brazilians and the ice cool Icelanders". Some interesting and humorous points were raised but the different cultural viewpoints seemed too one-dimensional and "obvious" to me. I was actually very surprised to read at the end that the author did indeed, like Julie in the book, travel the world interviewing women from different countries as research. So maybe the stereotypes are just totally right after all !
To me, it was very reminiscent of Ally McBeal / Bridget Jones / Sex and the City and I was hardly surprised to see that the author, Liz Tuccillo, was in fact a former executive story editor for Sex and the City. If you like funny, romantic chicklit with a hefty dose of "girl power", you'll love it ! And despite my earlier criticism, I did really enjoy it and would recommend it to others.
Simon & Schuster UK, January 2009
star rating : 4/5
star rating : 4/5