I gave this two stars because it was as bad as it promised to be, and, in its way easy to read. It's really more like a 1.5 stars deal to me. It was like reading a lifetime movie, which is the kind of crap I've need at the moment to make it through some personal highly-stressful situations.
That said, this is the third Joy Fielding I've read and I don't know how she creates these people, but they are the most shallow, obnoxious, irritating creatures to inhabit the planet. Worse than that, though, is the writing style. The main character, whose twenty-one-year old daughter disappears after an audition with a famous movie director, has flashbacks and memories throughout the novel, and they are presented in a way that interrupts the narrative. (Example: they are all told in present tense, which is kind of ironic for flashing back, put in parentheses and begin with A Title where the First Letter of Each Word is Capitalized.) I found myself dreading these and looking ahead to see just how long I'd have to sit through them. They are irritatingly frequent.
The main character in the novel, Cindy, has an inner life that isn't too well presented, either; mainly it's her thinking "what kind of mother am I that I didn't know my daughter's friends?" and similar questions. Her sister, we are told, is overbearing and always has to have a worse situation than Cindy's - and then the bulk of her characterization revolves around this. Most of the characters seem to fall into this pattern - they have one or two traits that Fielding uses; they are simplistic, depthless people. There's a lot of concern about what people look like, what kinds of clothes they're wearing, and people who are not some Hollywood standard of fit are created as irritants and mean people, while all the main characters are "pretty" and "handsome" and "gorgeous."
The ending isn't terribly surprising, either, but there is some guessing involved. Oh and there is one rant that Cindy makes to her blind date about the label "women in jeopardy"- she goes on and on about how every novel and every story is a woman in jeopardy story; that's LIFE, after all; without jeopardy nothing is interesting. Her date sees the light: I never thought about it that way!
. It seems so out of place that one can't help but wonder if Fielding has been accused of writing women-in-jeopardy novels. Let's face it, that label is derogatory and refers to a certain kind of shallow, cheap entertainment without literary merit. Not that it doesn't have its value - I mean, I sped through this book because I needed to be preoccupied during some rough days, but it's not like reading Sara Gran's Dope
, where a woman is definitely in jeopardy, and yet the writing and the characters are so well done I actually felt for them and cared about what happened to them.