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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

book tour: Practical Jean by Trevor Cole

Author: Trevor Cole
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Source: TLC Book Tours
Paperback: 320 pages

"foodie" elements:  no

random excerpt:  That was all that Jean had hoped to hear.  She believed it to be true.  She believed it.  And to have Dorothy say so just confirmed for Jean, as she drove to Dorothy's house on the outskirts of town, that she approached with the purest of intentions what was now to come. (p. 107)

summary/synopsis:  (from TLC website) Jean Vale Horemarsh is content, for the most part, with the small-town life she’s built: a semi-successful career as a ceramics artist, a close collection of women friends (aside from that terrible falling-out with Cheryl years ago), a comfortable marriage with a kind if unextraordinary man. But it is only in watching her mother go through the final devastating stages of cancer that Jean realizes her true calling. No one should have to suffer the indignities of aging and illness like her mother did—and she, Jean Horemarsh, will take it upon herself to give each of her friends one final, perfect moment . . . and then, one by one, kill them.

Of course, female friendships are quite complicated things, and Jean is soon to discover that her plan isn’t as simple as she initially believed it to be.

my thoughts/review:  Uuuummmm.  Weeeelllll.  I don't know.  There were several times throughout the book that I thought I wasn't going to read any further.  But I kept going, intrigued by what would transpire in the chapters to come.  Jean is crass.  She's a taker.  She's delusional.  I found her wholly unlikable.  Yet, she fancies herself charming.  Ah, the veil that a psychopath drapes herself with.  This tale is dark, twisted, and somewhat shocking.  I didn't actually start enjoying it until about page 239, which would be the last few chapters.  That's when the story was building to its climax, I suppose.

I wanted to like the story.  I went in expecting to enjoy it.  I'm usually a fan of dark comedies.  Only, I didn't find this in the least bit humorous.  Usually in a dark comedy, the main character has a sort of irresistible quality that draws you to them.  Either they're likable and you're rooting for them...or they've got reason for their twisted mind.  While I saw the premise laid for Jean's ways (cold mother, early exposure to an indifference to ending life), she just wasn't developed enough for me. She was boring.  I did, however find myself liking the other characters in the book.  Her friends, both the closest ones she killed to save them from the horrible fate of growing old and the ones who weren't deemed worthy in her whacko way of looking at the word, were all far more likable.  Which to me, all seemed a bit backwards.  I wasn't rooting for her.

Again...I don't know.  Back to that sentiment.  It was overall just okay.  I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. I just wasn't that thrilled.

about the author:  Trevor Cole has been hailed as “one of the best young novelists in the country” by Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, for his books Norman Bray in the Performance of His Life, The Fearsome Particles, and Practical Jean. He lives near Toronto.

Visit Trevor at his website and follow him on Twitter.

*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.
follow the tour:

Would you like to comment?

  1. Interesting! Might need to check it out!

  2. Oh my goodness, I started out thinking I might like to read it then change my mind. Excuse me while I sneak back to my cookery books and chicklit!

  3. Bummer that it wasn't a better read for you--the premise is interesting.

  4. Darn, I'm sorry you didn't connect with this book the way you hoped to. Thanks for giving it a fair review though! We appreciate you being on the tour.

  5. Hmmm...interesting premise, after I read the part about her finding her calling after her watching her mother deal with cancer I thought her calling was going to be following some dream of hers and leaving her husband to marry some dashing man, Maeve Binchy style. This sounds like a female version of American Psycho kind of. It will probably be optioned for movies soon. When I read the name Horemarsh is when I thought this could be bad. Haha