Alison Pace, author of If Andy Warhol Had a Girlfriend, follows up that enjoyable book with another funny novel that may not have grabbed me as much as her debut, but was still plenty of fun to read. This time, the narrator is Hope, an art restorer in Manhattan who lusts after her co-worker, inexplicably dates a man who plays squash, harbors a secret fear of public speaking and is in love with a Zoloft commercial. (Well, not in love, per se, but she finds it awfully soothing.) And quite often, when she needs to chill the fuck out, she finds herself at the titular Pug Hill, risking being labeled a crazy pug stalker, because pugs are her Prozac. They sooth her completely-on-edge nerves like nothing (other than the Zoloft commercial) can.
Alison continues to earn brownie points (in my book at least) by avoiding most of the pitfalls into which Chick Lit books fall. Hope, while quirky in her own right, is a fairly normal woman. Things that seem inconsequential to others, such as her annoyingly perfect yet fucked up sister, her bulldozer of a mother, her unrequited crush on her co-worker, and fear of public speaking for example, overtake her life, and therefore the plot, because when something like this hits you, it does seem to take over everything. There’s no major drama, no explosions, no life-threatening illnesses or fabulous new job out of the blue, just a nice, slice-of-life book about the things that threaten to push one over the edge, written in Ms. Pace’s excellent comic hand.
Chick Lit Clichés Round-Up:
While she hit the trifecta with the perfect sibling, the annoying mother and the stoic father, she completely missed the gay best friend (an alarming trend I’m starting to notice. I must investigate. Is the gay best friend passé?) and The Oops, so I’d say it all balanced out.
As for the scale on which all books are at one time judged in mine eyes, the Bus Shame Meter, I am happy to say that I would sit up tall on the bus and read without feeling the need to shelter it from the elderly lady sharing the seat.