Jane Green books seem to have two distinct personalities for me: there’s the funny and readable (mainly the earlier books) and then there’s the annoying and predictable (her more recent books). I loved Bookends and still have the highly recommended Jemima J to read, but I think I’ll stay away from her newer books in future.
Dune Road is also known as Girl Friday in other countries. I like Girl Friday better, even though it doesn’t really fit in with the tone of the book for me. You see, Kit is a famous author’s ‘girl Friday’ in that she makes him coffee, does office work for him etc. But the book is not really about the relationship between them. Kit is recently divorced and coming to terms with single mother life. There’s also some aspects about her friends – Charlie has to face the realities of the GFC (not every book written in the last few years needs a GFC crisis – authors please take note!) and Tracey, looks like being a schemer – or is she a victim? Throw in a sweet elderly neighbour, a new boyfriend, a mysterious relative and a distant mother and you have all the plotlines in the world to play with.
The thing I found though was that Green doesn’t make use of these plotlines, in particular, Tracey’s situation. There was so much room for emotional blackmail, some serious arguments and near-misses. However, it is all glossed over sweetly and superficially without the players realising the seriousness of the situation. The ends are not only tied up, they’re wrapped into a giant bow. So much more use could have been made of the lost relative storyline – they were portrayed again without depth. This could have been a great book if a few less threads were dealt with and the characters broke out of the stereotypical moulds. Now I know why Borders had this on the bargain pile.
Unfortunately, I’ve read it all before and there’s new reading ground for me to break, so I think I’ll stay away from Green’s new books for some time. I’ll seek out Jemima J, but that’s it. Am I too old to appreciate chick lit?
Read this if: you LOVE chick lit and are desperate.
4 out of 10.