Monday, July 9, 2012

The Do Over

One thing you learn as you wade through the ocean of books written by indie authors is that not all writers are created equal. Not everyone who can string words together accurately or in a way so as to tell a story (and you'd be surprised at how many can't do both at the same time!) can consider themselves "writers." A good writer is someone who entertains. Someone who makes you see the scenes you read as if they were playing like a movie inside your head. An a-list writer makes you care about their characters; makes you think of them as friends. "People who write" can tell good stories and they can sometimes do so while still using their spell and grammar check. "Good writers" not only tell stories well but they make the language flow so smoothly that you forget that you're reading words on paper and get lost in the tale.

As much as I enjoy my old favorite authors, it's a joy to find a newly published writer that has that same rare ability to not only entertain...but to make real life disappear. I have chosen Kathy Dunnehoff's book "The Do Over" as the first on the long list of wonderful new writer's I've discovered since purchasing my Kindle.

From the description on its Kindle/Amazon page:
Just before her fortieth birthday, Mara Jane Mulligan, devoted wife and mother, runs out of bubble bath, and the ensuing panic attack drives her to Canada for more. She realizes that one foamy soak probably won't cure what ails her, so she takes a 30 day vacation from her life. (What woman doesn't need one of those?) Surely her family will understand. Her son's visiting Grandma, and maybe her husband won't even miss her. Unfortunately, her husband doesn't miss much and tracks her to Abundance, a Vancouver bubble bath company. As her 30 days sail by, Mara Jane Mulligan discovers she has a decision to make that even Dorothy couldn't avoid... Will she click her heels for home or kick them up for good?

I admit that the beginning of the book was slow. Or maybe I was. It took me a few minutes to feel Mara Jane's panic attack and realize that she was headed into crisis. A few pages in however and I was lost. I hated to put it down to sleep. I read while eating. And I didn't want it to end. I wasn't sure whether to go with my homemaker instincts and root for her somewhat less than understanding husband...or to go with my romantic side and hope that she fell hopelessly in love with the handsome stranger who makes her remember how tingles and dreams are supposed to feel.

I found this book very well-written, tightly edited and I found only a few typos and basic errors (probably the fault of cyber gremlins and not the author). When reading other reviews it's obvious that it's a "love it or hate it" kind of book with most reviewers giving either a four or five...or a one (with the majority being the high numbers giving it a final firm four stars). I almost laughed out loud at the reviewer who said that the "number of pages devoted to bubble bath is ridiculous." Obviously written by someone who doesn't get the whole idea of metaphors. "Bubble bath" became to Mara Jane Mulligan the Holy Grail. The one place she got to be herself. The one time that she was something other than her husband's wife and her son's mother. A time that she could relax and just "feel"...and didn't need to constantly remind herself to fill all of the roles that every good housewife must fill. Certainly the soap in the bottle was much more than just "bubble bath."

I gave The Do Over a very rare-for-me five stars. It is one of the very few books that I've read from new authors that I am fairly sure I will re-read someday. And I know I'll enjoy it then as much as I did the first time. I'm also looking forward to reading Kathy's other two books. I'll let you know if she's a one hit wonder (which I doubt) or whether she's definitely found her niche on the bookshelf of life.


  1. I read this on your recommendation & loved it! Reading on my Fire as we drove to Destin in the dark and laughing out loud~

    Though it was hysterically funny, at times I had difficulty drumming up sympathy for Janie/Mara... Geez, she only has ONE child, a job with a summer break while her son is off for a month with her in-laws, a working husband, no money problems mentioned... and she's stressed because she has to shop in bulk for facial tissues??

    Sounds like a pretty cushy life to me! So okay, willing suspension of disbelief, apparently the poor girl has lost herself~ and her hubby is beyond uptight!

    I was disappointed in the ending, not because of the choice she made, but because of how she did it. I don't want to say more & spoil it for someone else. Still, the book was laugh out loud funny and I couldn't put it down! I'd definitely recommend it.

    1. I'm SO glad you enjoyed it! As I said, it's a "love it or hate it" kinda book. Glad you were in the "loved" section since you took my recommendation. :)

  2. To me, a good book doesn't have any typos. Perhaps this is the result of the book being self-published -- you don't have an army of editors, or even three or four of them, looking at the copy -- but I cringe if I see one typo in a novel. I think I cringe mostly because a typo, even for a nanosecond, takes you out of the story. It does me, at least.

    Other than that this sounds like a fun book! :-)