Thursday, January 28, 2010

Review: Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single by Heather Mcelhatton

Hi again. It seems to me that the days and weeks continue to fly by in an absolute blur. I'll wrap up a weekend, head back to work, and then turn around and it's Friday again. It's all a bit insane to me! Honestly though, I live for every day off, and every vacation I see yawning before me. In other words, I DO look forward to days away from work.

Thank you to those who left comments about poetry. I suppose I need to wrap my head around the fact that not many people like poetry. Why that seems so strange to me, is beyond me at this point, but it does. As difficult as some of my poetry classes used to be, I actually miss sitting and discussing poetry with a group of like-minded individuals. Honestly, if it was feasible, I would go back to school again; I love being a student!

Having said that, and on a completely different note, I wanted to finally post my review of Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single. I read this over Christmas, after my good friend read it and seemed to enjoy it. To some degree, I've been nervous about this review, as my response was pretty visceral. I think my words after reading the last few chapters were, "Are you kidding me?!?" I had to then flip back to read them again, to make sure I read the ending correctly. Yes, I wasn't sure what I read.

Synopsis: As you can guess Jennifer is single, but not happily so. She looks at her life and sees where she is, as compared to her perceptions of others. To her own eye, her apartment is too juvenile, her job is too mundane, her love life too lackluster, her personality not sparkling enough, and her appearance and body not sexy enough. Then she begins dating the man of her perceived dreams. He is the man every other woman wants to date, the man who is handsome, the man who comes from money, and the man who is her boss! It seems that this man, who might be too good to be true, might just rescue her from her single status once and for all, delivering her from any more bad dates or single appearances at parties and weddings. This could be her ticket out of single city.

Review: I have to be honest, I really didn't like this book. REALLY didn't like this book. As a single woman, who doesn't feel that she is in as much angst about her singleness as some think she should, this book had me scratching my head at times. The writing is quite witty, with funny one liners, and scenes of gobbling up sugary-sweet treats in an empty stairwell at work (out of anxiety), that had me laughing; however, I didn't relate to Jennifer's panic over the "who and what" questions in her life. It seemed to me that she was a Bridget Jones-ish character, meant to show us that what we want, may not be exactly what is best for us. This, however, is pretty much only revealed in the last few chapters of the book, ending in a way that is an unhappy resolution. But're supposed to be happy that ended in a tragic sort of sadness, right? Yes, I realize that was the point. That was okay, and I got it, but I also realized that the main character really was a reflection of any and all single women who feel they "have to" be married, and to someone of status, to be a complete person.

Altogether, I thought the book was well written, but didn't end up liking the main character, nor her choices. I suppose that added up to me not liking how the book ended. Does that mean it's not a good book, no, just that its delivery and outcome are meant to drive home a point, a very anti-"chick-lit" or happy ending sort of point. That's okay, but just left me a bit frustrated. I would have preferred to have seen what she did with her not so happy ending. One thing that ending did for me though, was to ensure that I'd embrace my single status, and not as a badge of shame!

For more information, see Jennifer Johnson Is Sick of Being Single.

*Review based off of library copy of the book.


  1. Yikes-I think I'll skip this chick lit book. Like you, I'm fine being single, and have a hard time relating now to characters who are all freaked out about not getting married or having a boyfriend when they are in their 20s.

  2. Ditto, Colette. Although I DO think my personality could be a little more sparkly. ;)

  3. Well, two thoughts:

    1. I understand your feeling re: scratching your head over other people's reading likes/dislikes, lol. I was recently amazed at how many people didn't care for the recently deceased JD Salinger's works. I mean, most people either haven't read him or truly didn't like what they read. I've been scratching my head over that one. But there's a butt for every saddle, right? (Even if we do think it's strange, LOL).

    2. RE: singlehood and book plots. I hear you loud and clear. I recently read (haven't yet reviewed it, but when I do I'm sure I'll get skewered) Perrotta's The Abstinence Teacher and what I hated about the protagonist was her proclaiming to be such a feminist and yet constantly bemoaning the fact that she's a divorced single mother and how much she misses a man. What the heck is that about? It's a ridiculous message. There's nothing wrong with being single (I wish for it more often than I'd like, ha ha). It is a badge to be PROUD of!