Author Lorena Bathey
In Vista Heights, the women of the neighborhood have started to look like their homes, varying shades of beige. Lost in this world of suburbia, Marissa Lyons learns her high school nemesis has bought the house right across the street from her. Afraid that her arch enemy, Beatrice Munson, will arrive with Marissa’s high school crush as her husband and cause Marissa to relive the insecurity of high school in her forties she decides to face the music and heads to Beatrice’s house with warm cupcakes. But what Marissa finds is something she never expected. How will Marissa and the rest of the women of San Martino deal with someone like Beatrice Munson, whose defining moment in her life was to get a boob job or go on a trip to Egypt. This story is about friendship, love, learning to look at things differently, and great parties. Step into the world of Vista Heights where you might recognize the women, or you might be one of them.
Review: I loved the premise of this book and the idea behind the development. I believe most SAHM and those living in modern cul de sac developments will appreciate the struggles of these women. Some might not agree, but the beige cage is a modern day anthropology study waiting to happen.
"We all went silent in understanding. Even as adult women we knew that we had to get permission from our husbands to do something as drastic as start a business and create an empire. There would be an unsaid commitment to our partner that we would not let things slide around the house. The kids would still have to be earning great GPAs, the dinners would still be ready on time, the dog would be walked, and by all means we could not ever become more successful in the business world than they were. It was unwritten but implied and it was the caveat to the world that we found ourselves living in."I was particularly impressed with this passage for its emotional exposure to the underlying problem and for providing a peek at the true wizard behind the curtain. Beatrice Munson moves into the neighborhood and shakes it up by really not doing very much, but being herself. As I mentioned, a great concept and important contemporary ideology to explore. However, I wanted more of the story to be flushed out. Some truly deep opportunities were glided over mostly do to the 'telling' instead of 'showing' concept which contributed to the feeling the story was being 'reported' rather than fictionally development. The scope was stuck in wide-frame and did not zoom in enough at the important moments to provide me with a satisfying internal struggle. The voice of each character was too similar and not clearly defined. Again, this contributed to the reporting overall feeling I got. Areas of the story were redundant and setting descriptions were lengthy in detail -- by doing so, I got lost in decor and didn't really know what objects were important or relevant, if any. Not everything has to have deep meaning, but in my opinion it was over done.
Cracks of the inner workings of this world were exposed and perhaps, the curtain drawn to offer a glimpse. I wanted more -- I wanted stripped down and pushed to the front of the stage. I was hoping for more rawness and I was left with a quaint, inspirational tale where most things work out after a few bumps and bruises. I doubt this story will make many cry, but it will certainly drum up a few chuckles and if you're a fan of chick lit and contemporary ladies fiction, you might want to give Beatrice Munson a go.