TITLE: Stuck in Downward Dog
AUTHOR: Chantel Simmons
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Key Porter Books/2007
Goodreads / Author's Website
I bought this book a few years ago, read it and promptly forgot about it, so when I was cleaning out my closet the other day I thought, why not give this another shot. I quickly remembered why I put it in my book box instead of displaying it proudly on my shelf. It's just not that good.
I have mixed emotions about so-called chick lit. I'm always drawn to the super fun covers and back flaps promising stories about female empowerment, romance or some combination of the two. However, I'm often disappointed by shallow characters and plots. Stuck in Downward Dog is one of those books that I find disappointing. I always expected it to be light reading, but I couldn't get beyond the fact that the main character is one of the most annoying characters in any novel I've read.
Mara Brennan is twenty-eight and has just been dumped by her boyfriend. She's living in a basement suite she can't afford and is working a low paying job that she hates. She decides that she needs to become more like Olivia and Mitz, her two best friends since childhood in order to get her life together. But here's the thing. She is incredibly self absorbed with the worst self esteem ever. Nothing she does is about finding happiness or improving her life, not really. It's about showing other people up. It's selfish. It's annoying and filled with self pity.
You know, I actually enjoyed the last twenty or so pages of this book. I just had to slog through so much unnecessary drama to get to the parts I liked. The tagline on the front cover states that "it's not about getting the guy, it's about getting a life," but throughout this book I didn't see Mara trying to find a life. I saw her trying to change herself so that everybody around her thinks she's cool and validates her. It's not something I enjoyed reading.
Mara does eventually start to grow and become a more fulfilled person. It's at that point that I began to gain interest, but my God. It took too long. I spent most of the book loathing the main character and just wanting to shake some sense into her. That combined with one too many references to foobies and not enough yoga talk given the title I was about to tear my hair out. Luckily it's a quick read and if you want something super fast and super light give this a shot I guess, especially if you're looking for some Canadian content, but I'm sure there are better options out there.