Saturday, June 10, 2006

#44 - Swapping Lives

Jane Green's latest novel, Swapping Lives reads like reality television on the page. A fairly flimsy premise: 35-year-old journalist Vicky Townsley, looking to make changes in her life, says off-handedly that she'd love to swap lives with someone who's married with kids. It's the life she's always dreamed of and what she wants more than anything. Her editor thinks it's a fab idea and off they go, trying to find the perfect Swap-mate.

They find her in Amber Winslow, a 'Desperate Housewife' from suburban Connecticut, bored and frustrated with her own 'keeping up with the Joneses' (Green honestly uses that phrase at least six times throughout the manuscript). Amber's husband is old money whose family has been broke for generations; now he's a successful trader on Wall Street. They're fabulously wealthy—the epitome of the American dream.

The moral of the story: the grass isn't always greener on the other side. However, both women make changes in their lives based up on their experiences in the swap. Green's prose is repetitive and the characters, especially Amber, are kind of one-dimensional (there are playboys, bitchy suburban housewives, and not one but TWO friends named Deborah [she couldn't pick a different name?] on either side of the ocean). But I read the book to the end, and, on the sliding scale of chicklit, Green's new book comes in somewhere on top of Plum Sykes but nowhere near our beloved Gemma.

Edited to add: The one thing that I did like about this book was that the heroine, Vicky, started off single and ended up single, still looking for love but happy and fulfilled by her life. Now that's a twist in chicklit, one that I'd like to see more of...

No comments: