Bristow Sparks, an interior designer in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, has just landed the contract of a lifetime, working for Cherry Wyeland, volatile reality star and CEO of Wine-A-Lot. Designing for a crazy person is an around-the-clock commitment. It frays Bristow’s nerves and forces her to compromise in unimaginable ways, but, given that the finished product will be featured on The Decorating Network, she must succeed.
While her professional life is hot, her personal life is barely room temperature. After surviving the relentless media spotlight because of a personal tragedy and a traitorous ex-boyfriend, Bristow flies so far under the radar she can’t even be detected. A homebody to the core, she binges on episodes of the Showtime series, Dexter, lives in sweatpants, and is addicted to exercise and Oreos.
As for relationships? She has fallen hard and fast for witty and adventurous Jack Hoffmann. However, after their disastrous first date where Bristow collided with a park bench among other mortifying mishaps, they are unfortunately just friends. At least there’s one male sharing her bed, even if it’s only Vegas, her theatrical golden retriever.
For her twenty-ninth birthday, Bristow goes out of her comfort zone and gets a makeover at an elite spa. Post-Brazilian wax and in excruciating pain, Bristow realizes that she’s been in a post-traumatic state for years. She vows to start taking risks again. When she finally goes after what and whom she wants, no matter the cost, tragedy strikes again . . .
I was offered a free copy of this book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are my own.
This one was tricky to review but in the end, I decided that it deserves 4 stars for being highly entertaining and having a pleasant balance between funny and serious. The author made the following smart moves: The catchy title, the amusing characters and the implementation of the right dose of good old realism.
The title of the book was what caught my attention, I have to admit it was clever but tricky: Would you expect the heroine of ‘Post-Traumatic Brazilian Wax Syndrome’ to be actually a virgin? Not only that, but Bristow is not your typical protagonist of a chick lit novel. Down to earth, analytical and extremely old fashioned, this character might not be highly relatable – specially in this day and age – but rather refreshing.
Of course, given the genre, you’d expect this book to be completely devoted to romance but ironically enough, this was my least favourite point. Romance might be what drives all characters – as expected – in this book but there is too much going on, which results in taking the focus off this element. I personally liked that this fact allowed exploration of Bristow’s particularities, internal struggles and family drama. On the other hand, I feel sad that I couldn’t emerge into the love story.
Other aspects that I personally didn’t like:
– The apparent inability of Bristow to stand up for herself goes against her smart and unique personality at some points.
– Too many repetitions of facts we knew already to accentuate both Bristow’s uniqueness and the romantic chemistry between her and we-know-who.
– Bristow’s cousin cannot be possibly this naive and reckless – I understand this character is essential on so many levels but she deserved a bit of complexity added to her personality.
– The predictability of it all! Sometimes this is just what you need, a book that is predictable and makes you feel good in the end. However, I can’t help but think that this book could be so much better with a few tweaks. There are many things that you can easily predict from the very beginning and the delay of the outcome only seems to drag, as opposed to create suspense or tension. The feeling I had was that I knew how all was going to end. And I did.
And I loved:
– How all characters were so different from each other & how some interactions between them were hilarious.
– This is the journey of a woman who suffered and who is struggling to find her own path.
– The power of all the relationships (friends, family, lovers) and emotions in the story.
– Apart from the last bit – which was a bit farfetched – the story was pretty much realistic and leaves you with the feeling that ‘this could happen to anyone’, Bristow could be your neighbour or your best friend.
This book has a certain ’je-ne-sais-quoi’ which makes it charming & refreshing, funny & realistic, mature & clean. All at the same time.
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