Wednesday, April 25, 2012
More Like Her by Liza Palmer
Sometimes, the perfect dream turns out to be a perfect nightmare...
To Francis, the height of female perfection is Emma Dunham. She's beautiful, successful, and has the most thoughtful and handsome husband on the planet. Emma is everything that Francis, recently dumped with spectacular drama by her boyfriend, wants to be. Her fellow teachers - Lisa, a professional so career-focused she doesn't have time for a family, and Jill, whose unexpected pregnancy may hold devastating consequences for her marriage - thinks so too.
But what Francis, Lisa, and Jill don't know is that Emma has a secret. Her home life is nothing like the suburban postcard it seems. And the perfect husband is about to become a killer. And the victim is none other than the perfect Emma.
In the aftermath, the trio of friends realizes they must come to terms with the secrets in their own lives. Yet how can they pick up the pieces and move forward whey they know that everything they've counted on and believed in is nothing like what it seems?
Overall: Not what I expected.
More Liker Her was not what I expected. The cover alone led me to believe that this would be a light, fluffy chick lit read. And the summary on the back (which you just read) does not accurately describe the book. So, suffice it to say, I was definitely surprised by what I read and that was okay by me.
The book is about Frannie and Jill, bffs working together at a private school. On the first day of school they quickly befriend a new science teacher named Lisa (when I say quickly, I mean that after one conversation they are already sharing bedroom details and so much more). Anyhow, its a new school year and apparently, along with the new construction at the school (which is conveniently being headed by Jill's husband's company, where there happen to be some single, attractive men on hand to introduce to Frannie and Lisa), there is a new head mistress named Emma, who just happens to be perfect in every way (at least, according to Frannie). Of course, not everything is as it seems. When Frannie meets Emma's husband, Jamie, she is quite surprised by the creepy and controlling man she encounters. In fact, her suspicions of him are raised even further when she has a confrontation with him and it appears as if he is going to grab her by her hair. Unsure of what to make of this awful man, Frannie is left to wonder what Emma sees in him. Of course, its a new year, so Frannie's priorities take her away from thinking about Emma's marriage and back to her students and her wallowing in heartbreak (yes, she is still trying to figure out why Ryan broke up with her).
As the story progresses we get to learn more about Frannie and Ryan's relationship and why it ended. We see Jill and Frannie's friendship blossom with each other and Lisa, who seems the perfect fit to upgrade their duo to a trio. We meet Sam, the new man in Frannie's life (thanks to Jill), and Grady, the new guy in Lisa's life (again, thanks to Jill). And, then BANG! One night at school, everyone (teachers and the architects working on the construction) attends a birthday celebration for their new headmistress, Emma. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and are waiting for Jamie to show up - Emma's mentioned that he's on his way. Well, suddenly Jamie has arrived and the next thing you know he's pulled out a gun and shot his wife in the head. Gunshots are fired, people are terrified and running for their lives, chaos ensues. From this point on, we are left to read about the aftermath of this tragic event and how it affected Frannie, Jill, and Lisa and the way they view their relationships and themselves.
More Like Her is a solid read that touches on a variety of issues, such as domestic violence, bullying and self-esteem. Its a book that is easy to relate to on so many levels - whether it be Frannie's obsessive need to dissect every aspect of her relationship, or Jill's belief that in order to get a man one needs to pretend to be what he wants, or Lisa's voracious appetite for sex on a first meeting (notice I didn't write date) - the women portrayed in the book represent you, your friends, people you know. I think that is what makes More Like Her such a good read - the fact that you can relate to it. As far as the writing goes, Palmer does a great job of creating this group of gals that you want to learn more about. You want to read about their relationships with each other and their significant others. You want to find out what really happened behind Emma and Jamie's closed doors - I do wish that Palmer had spent some time focused on Emma, instead of the few bits and bobs of info we received. This is a book that will definitely leave you wondering about the people you know and how well you really do know them.