Thursday, 4 May 2017

Life After Coffee

Author: Virginia Franken
Genre: Women's Fiction
Type: e-book
Source: personal copy
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
First Published: September 13, 2016
First Line: "Bacon."

Book Description from GoodReadsLast week, high-powered coffee buyer Amy O’Hara was trekking through the Ethiopian cloud forest on the verge of a discovery that could save the coffee bean from extinction. This week, she’s unexpectedly fired. 

Suddenly Amy’s days are no longer filled with meetings and upscale tastings, but with put-together PTA moms, puke-ridden playdates and dirty dishes. Her husband has locked himself in the garage in order to write the Great American Screenplay, while both kids are steaming mad at her because she insists on dressing them like normal people and won’t give up sending them to school with healthy lunches. 

It’s becoming clear that Amy may just be the world’s most incompetent mother, and she’s beginning to wonder if the only thing she’s good for is bringing home the bacon. When salvation appears in the form of a movie mogul ex-boyfriend who wants to employ her husband and rekindle their relationship, Amy starts to find she’s sorely tempted. . . .

One thing is certain: whatever happens, she’s going to need a lot more caffeine.

My Rating: 3 stars

My Review: I'm a coffee lov-ah from way back and was in the mood for a light read. 

Enter Life After Coffee.

My favourite part of this book was the humour. Franken gives readers some great one-liners, and delightful snippets of witty, dry humour.  My favourite kind.  The tone of the book is light even though some bigger issues are broached --- stay-at-home versus working-outside-the-home moms, parenting roles, fidelity, finances ...

While I generally enjoyed Franken's writing style I can't say I liked her characters. They were the weakest part of the book and were an unlikable bunch. They needed more depth and some rather big reality checks since Amy and her husband Peter had a complete disjoint when it came to priorities. Amy is unapproachable to her kids and adults around her and I became increasingly irritated seeing her utter lack of common sense when it came to her kids. She's gone for weeks at a time not entire years.

Peter didn't fare much better. He starts off as this Super parent in the eyes of his kids and fellow parents but when his wife, and sole breadwinner of their household, loses her job he suddenly abandons his kids, become a selfish jerk and focuses only on his screenplay. He's a grown man who has no concept about finances, how to behave professionally and has his head in the clouds (or up a particular orifice) much of the book.

Throughout the book, I felt bad for the two kids, ages 3 and 5, who didn't seem to have one full parent out of the two selfish ones they were given. Sadly, they were a product of their parenting and environment and their language and behaviours felt all over the place in terms of maturity and age-appropriateness.

This is a hard book to rate. It was a quick, light read with some rather witty observations about motherhood and it was interesting to see the behind-the-scenes of the coffee world. I liked the wee twist and enjoyed the ending BUT the characters were one-dimensional and an unlikable lot. If more time was spent giving the characters more depth I would have enjoyed the book so much more. I'm giving this book a generous 3 stars.

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