Friday, January 26, 2007

FAb Review - She, Myself & I by Whitney Gaskell (and another contest!)

I just LOVE FAb Pick week! It's giving me the chance to re-read books that I really enjoyed the first time, and to tell you all about them. Isn't that cool? Which reminds me... if you don't mind, please let us know in the comments today, on THIS post, what you think of the whole idea of our FAB Picks. Do you like it? Do you hate it? Do you think we should just do regular reviews and not tell you if we find something/someone we really enjoy? We want to know. While we love reading, we also really enjoy doing these reviews. We both know how hard it is to find books that are worth our time, and we hope that we're helping expose you to some new books. There are a lot of other great review sites out there, and we enjoy a few of them VERY much (like the Ja(y)nes, over at Dear Author). We know that you have lots of places to choose from to read your reviews, and we're really glad that a few of you seem to like us and our format. Just let us know how we can make things better, because we are here for YOU! Enough about us though, let me tell you about this book, She, Myself & I.

The Cassel sisters are at the center of this wonderful romp through the Austin suburbs. Paige is the driven oldest sister. Sophie is the drama-queen middle sister. Mickey is the perfect baby. They have some issues though, aside from the fact that their parents (who put them through hell with a nasty divorce over a decade ago) have now started seeing each other again.

Paige is a divorced divorce attorney that is still trying to figure out if there is something wrong with her. See, her husband left her...for another man. Now she's not sure that she wants to date again. Ever.

Sophie is used to being the center of attention, and being pregnant certainly helps. But when the baby is born, she discovers that life isn't like the movies, and happily ever after actually takes some effort.

Mickey is graduating from college, and has been accepted into a prestigious medical school. Her life is really just starting out, and it looks great so far. Can her dreams for herself and the plans other people have for her life ever mesh?

This is the story of three sisters, their offbeat parents, and the various husbands, boyfriends, dates, fantasy-men, and other people that make up their lives. But it's more than that. It's also the story of me. Confused? Let me explain.

As the oldest sister, Paige feels driven to succeed, just like I do. She also feels like she failed at her first marriage, even though the failure clearly was not her own. Again, like me. She's having a hard time trusting herself and her feelings. She's a bit tired of feeling like she has to take care of everyone else. She's wondering if being a divorce attorney is really what she wants to do for the rest of her life. Again, very much like me (well, except for the divorce attorney part, because I'm not!).

Sophie loves being a mom. She adores the look and smell and feel of her baby. Like me. She isn't all that fond of her flobby, postpartum figure. Like me. Her moms group scares the crap out of her. Like me. Her marriage is under a lot of strain with the arrival of the baby, and she doesn't know how to deal with that. I can relate! She has fantasies about her son's pediatrician. (Ok, not me, but I had a major crush on another guy right after I gave birth, so I understand.)

Mickey wants to make some big changes in her life, but she's afraid of disappointing those closest to her. She's pretty sure she knows what she wants to do, but she also knows it's riskier than what everyone thinks she should do. Yeah, like me, me, me. She gets involved with the wrong kind of guy, but finally does the right thing. And yes, that's just like me.

So you see, all three of them are like me. And really, the beauty of this book is that you will find yourself, probably a little bit of yourself at least, in each one of them too. That's just the gift that Whitney has. I've said it before, but it really bears repeating, Whitney is just FAB-ulous!

The book is written in first person, but the POV changes three times. You meet the girls in birth order, and you see their lives through their own eyes. The story takes place over a little more than a year, and the pacing is perfect. What I found most interesting was seeing how each of the sisters saw themselves and the others, and how the way they saw each other was so much different than the way they saw themselves. Was that confusing enough? I remember Paige thinking about Mickey, and it revealed so much of how older siblings see their younger siblings... And even when she screwed up, it would be fine, because the mistakes you make in your twenties are always the ones that you learn from. You're still young and pliable and capable of change. And reading that, I remember feeling this same sort of envy towards my younger brother, who had his whole life still stretching out before him.

And the way Mickey related to the older ones was great also. She's an adult, but she's still the baby. She says to Sophie (about sleeping with someone on the first date) "Don't you think that's a little judgmental?" and Sophie replies (perfectly, I might add!) "I'm your big sister, it's my job to be judgmental."

And Sophie, bless her heart, I loved her too. As she's going through some major upheavals, she realizes... My fantasy... had been just that- a fanciful break from the reality that the rest of my life was in tatters... I was just sitting around waiting for everything to sort itself out on its own, which apparently wasn't going to happen.

The only thing that I didn't like about this book was that it made me really envious, because I have a brother. One brother. I didn't get sisters until I got married, and they live many states away. Whitney made me miss family that I've never even had. The book ends on the perfect note as well. You get the sense that these women are coming to terms with the fact that life isn't always what you thought it would be. It takes work. And struggles. And courage. And strength. But when you've got your sisters around you, it's not as hard as you sometimes think it is. Go pick this one up. Or enter to win. Trust me, you'll enjoy it!

Oh yeah, for the contest... You guys have got some serious fears, but I also have a feeling that you're strong enough to overcome them. Thanks for your entries! And PEARL, send me an e-mail at Tell me your snail mail addy, so I can send you a copy of Pushing 30, and Whitney can send you a signed copy of Testing Kate! And for today, the ALMOST VERY LAST WHITNEY GASKELL FAB PICK GIVEAWAY... I'll send you a copy of today's review book, She, Myself & I, if you tell me what makes your sisters (or brothers) so special. If you don't have siblings, tell me about a cousin, or a friend, or a sister-in-law, or someone that helps you make it through the day. All comments need to be on THIS post, please, by tomorrow at noon. And remember, only one entry per person. We want to be fair to everyone out there, ok?

Tomorrow (yes, I know it's Saturday, but still...) I will be posting the FAb-ulous interview with Whitney, and that will end our FAb Pick week. We're giving away one more book tomorrow, another signed copy of Testing Kate. And I'll announce the winner from today. So be sure to check in over the weekend for your chance to win more books!

Keep turning those pages!



Anonymous said...

I would just like to say that I greatly enjoy the FAB Pick weeks. The loads of information last FAB Pick week really convinced me to buy Adios to My Old Life -- and I'm glad I did! In addition, the authors and books introduced are ones that sound great but I'm unfamiliar with. The extra persuasion placed in the posts about the FAB Picks really push me to read some great books (so far!).

Now, I have three siblings -- two brothers and a sister. What I love about them is that even the strongest friends can separate. During transitions through life, you drop friends off at the roadside to pick up new ones at the next stop. With siblings, there's a bond that never separates because you always have a common link -- your family.

You don't always act as friendly to your siblings as you would your friends. Your friends don't know how aggravating you can REALLY be. Your siblings do. They put up with it, and you're still laughing years later.

- Jillian

traveler said...

I enjoy and look forward greatly each week to the Fab Picks. They provide me with more books and authors that I have not read and this is what I need. Your unique blend makes it attractive and fun.
I have a brother and sister whom I call upon when necessary. Without their input and sage advice I would be lost at times throughout my life. This lifeline is something that I need and without it I am lost. They know all my faults and foibles and are able to keep me on an even keel.

sharon said...

Your fab picks transport me to a new sphere. I love the variety and style.
I have a sister who I e-mail only when necessary but I depend upon a good friend for the upsets and problems that do occur. We help each other out regularly and meet to discuss our respective lives and futures. A new perspective is very helpful and we count on each other for our sanity.

alissa said...

Fab Picks broaden my scope of reading and gives me more to enjoy. Love them.
I have no siblings so I rely upon a best friend for talks. We confide in each other and this helps lifts the clouds and brighten up my day.

principessa said...

Your fab picks are a great and appealing part of your blog. I know that I can depend upon them to liven up my day and give me additional areas to explore.
I have a close friend whose advice and counsel is always available. This has become a routine with us and we spill it all and vent so that we can function and thrive.

Sheri said...

I WANT you to tell me who you love and think is FAB! That's why I come here! *grin*

Who is important to me? I have an AWESOME older sister. She is a wonderful mother, friend, and wife. She is a truly a good person. My pastor said it perfectly: "She is a woman with no guile." I turn to her for advice all the time with my daughters. (She's raised four!) When I grow up I want to be just like her.

I also have my "second family." They have been there for me through thick and thin and our friendship is the thing that has kept me going when I didn't think I could. I say the whole family because each one is special. I helped raise the girls and they are as precious to me as my own daughters. The mom is like an older sister to me--we talk and laugh about stuff and she has given me such great advice over the years. She ALWAYS believes in me and is the most successful woman II have ever met. Her husband is the dad I never had. He loves me like one of his own daughters and is VERY protective over me! I love them all madly!