Hostile Makeover
Leave It to Cleavage

Seven Days & Seven Nights

Single In Suburbia
by Wendy Wax
(Bantam, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-553-58897-4
Single In Suburbia is an enjoyable chick lit tale that has some romance but is much more a book about surviving and getting along after divorce. There are three women characters that are “stars” but one stands out and is the focus of the main story.

Amanda Sheridan is your typical thirty-something housewife with two beautiful kids and a husband who she thought loved her. Meghan, age 17 and Wyatt, age 11 are typical suburban kids with plenty to do and needing a chauffer almost every day. Then the world tilted. Rob, her husband, left her for Tiffany, a young pretty girl. And to complicate matters, the divorce attorney discovered that Rob had been embezzling from his law firm and they were essentially without substantial finances. The kids treated her like they thought Rob’s moving out was somehow her fault and she had no marketable skills. Her friends suddenly shied away from her. But she made some new friends.

Brooke is a bit of a trophy wife for a friend of the Sheridans named Hap. But she is hiding a background of being poor and the daughter of a cleaning lady. She is always fearful that Hap will lose interest in her, and his eleven-year-old son hates her.

Candace is a two-time divorcee looking for husband number three. Each time she had married society men approved by her high-in-the-instep mother, and neither marriage lasted. She is steadily and seriously dating Dan Donovan, the coach of Wyatt’s little league team. Dan is a hard-working, middle class Irishman, whom her mother does not approve of in the least.

The three make an unlikely trio, but they slowly become friends. And they help Amanda out with her dilemma. She suddenly realizes that what she does well is clean house. So, she adopts a French persona, “Solange” and through Candace, hires herself out to her neighbors. They get excited about having a French maid and she starts making money to help her keep the kids in the house they have known their whole lives. Her fun heats up when she meets the dad of one of her daughter’s friends. Hunter James, an ex-baseball pitcher, is a widower trying to raise his daughter on his own. He is also a hunk. He and Amanda are attracted and begin a tentative friendship/relationship. Hunter is also one of Solange’s customers.

This story is about marriage and surviving it. It paints a rather sordid picture of living in the suburbs and at times resembles the Desperate Housewives type of neighborhood. The whole storyline surrounding Solange is both a touch unbelievable, written with a bit of tongue in cheek and is simply too funny to not bear a ring of truth in it. There are parts where I laughed and parts where I felt twinges of pity. Amanda’s ability to rebound from her sleazy husband is also filled with the same dichotomies. The scene when she decides to use condoms in a manner the manufacturer didn’t dream of is priceless. I even chuckled about it when I walked through drugstore the other day down the condom aisle.

So why the three heart rating? The best answer I can give is the pacing and detail. There were times when the story seemed to drag and I started to lose interest because there wasn’t much romance to hold my interest. Even when things started heating up between Hunter and Amanda, I couldn’t help realizing that she is not even fully divorced yet. That lessened some of the enjoyment, even knowing that she deserved to be happy. The two side stories about Brooke and Candace were enjoyable but didn’t hold many details except from the female’s point of view. Dan and Hap were just two guys they loved but we never really got to know them, making it hard to fully embrace their romances.

I did, however, fully embrace Amanda, Brooke and Candace. Overall, Single In Suburbia is an entertaining story. I had fun reading it and I think you will too.

--Shirley Lyons

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