Friday, January 31, 2014

What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin

What Nora KnewWhat Nora Knew
Linda Yellin
320 pgs, Jan 2014

Summary from Goodreads

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business. For the past four years Molly’s been on staff for an online magazine, covering all the wacky assignments. She’s snuck vibrators through security scanners, speed-dated undercover, danced with the Rockettes, and posed nude for a Soho art studio.

Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-year old chiropractor. He’s comfortable, but safe. When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance in the style of Nora Ephron, she flunks out big-time. She can’t recognize romance. And she can’t recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man who gets her. But with wit, charm, whip-smart humor, and Nora Ephron’s romantic comedies, Molly learns to open her heart and suppress her cynicism in this bright, achingly funny novel.

My Thoughts

Have you ever read a book that felt like it just missed being really good and at the same time was REALLY flawed? That’s how I felt about What Nora Knew. I’ll start with what I liked. First of all I liked the main character, Molly Hallberg. She was interesting and funny and I was engaged in what happened to her. Second, I laughed out loud at a lot of conversations and situations. The author did an excellent job of letting you view the situations.

Unfortunately, the bad outweighed the good. The author has a really bad habit of info-dumping. New character equals full page description of said character - very Jane Austen except without the benefit of quaint 19th century English. I liked Molly’s friends from description, but it was a case of tell instead of show. While Yellin’s descriptive ability was a positive during certain funny scenario it hampered other areas of the novel. I have way too clear of a picture of the ping-pong table in her parents basement when it has absolutely no importance anywhere in the story. Detailed description can be awesome but the author needs to really consider what the reader needs/whats to know.

I DID NOT like the male lead. I’m not the girl who thinks all literary characters need to be likeable. I’m a big fan of unlike-able realistic interesting characters, but I’m a little pickier in a romantic comedy. I realized about 75 pages from the end that I didn’t want the MC to end up with the guy. I was never able to let go of the reasons Molly didn’t originally like him cause they were good reasons. Obviously that’s just my opinion, but in a rom-com if you don’t want the heroine to end up with the romantic lead it’s probably not a winner.

My Rating

Enjoyability (2.5 out of 5 stars)
Relationships (2 out of 5 stars)
Writing (2.5 out of 5 stars)  

This book will stay with me… not very long. I read it a couple weeks ago and had to consult my notes to remember enough to write the review.

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