Written by Lauryn Smith
I normally do not go for contemporary romance or chick lit like Beth Harbison’s “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Yet here I am, sharing my review of Harbison’s “If I Could Turn Back Time.” (Thanks to Macmillan Audio for the free audiobook!)
Harbison’s book is what I like to call a beach read. It is lighthearted, has some entertaining premises and is easy to grasp, but it is not life-altering, mind-boggling or gush-worthy. “If I could Turn Back Time” is not bad—it is just not great.
Harbison tells the story of career savvy Ramie Phillips, a soon-to-be 38-year old who in a moment of recklessness knocks her head and falls unconscious, only to wake up in her childhood home in Maryland as her 17-year-old self. Thrust back in time, the businesswoman is forced to relive her past, which gives her the opportunity to contemplate the choices she has made and to reconsider what she truly desires. Writing from Ramie’s perspective, Harbison illustrates what it is like for middle-aged women to doubt their decisions and to endlessly wonder what their lives would be like under different circumstances. She investigates modern women's emotions, specifically those of women who prioritize growing their careers over finding love and establishing families.
Written by Lauryn Smith and Beth Winters
Harry Potter is to ‘90s kids everywhere what Simon Snow is to Cath and her peers in Rainbow Rowell’s novel “Fangirl.” Cath takes her fandom to the extreme. Simon Snow T-shirts. Simon Snow posters. Simon Snow busts. She even goes so far as to write Simon Snow fan fiction—and she is good at it. Cath’s fanaticism began as a child, when her mother left the family, leaving Cath and her twin sister behind. Now in college, Cath must deal with the trials and tribulations, both old and new, that compose her life. See our thoughts on Rowell’s novel below!
Did you like “Fangirl”? Why or why not?
LS “Fangirl” is definitely a quick read. Sometimes you need a story that does not require a lot of analyzing, and I like “Fangirl” for that reason. Rowell’s novel is void of any hugely remarkable facets. There are no twists, turns or “please tell me what happens next” moments, so it is does not really keep you at the edge of your seat. Rowell tells the story smoothly, and the book is interesting in terms of character development. That said, the story is lacking when it comes to substance. Cath’s college experience seems more like an idealized high school experience. For instance, the difficulties Cath experiences are exemplified lightly and given little acknowledgement. Do we really learn anything regarding how Cath felt when her mother left? Not really. We eventually learn how Cath perceives the situation in retrospect, yet we do not feel the consequences. How does that life-altering event relate to Cath’s love of Simon Snow? Such elaboration would have benefitted Rowell’s story. Maybe such gaps are intentionally left open because Rowell intends the story be geared toward twins or people who can relate to Cath’s apprehensive personality. Or, maybe they are left open to avoid complication, as the book's genre is YA fiction.
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