Wednesday, April 06, 2011

REVIEW: Girls Who Gossip by Theresa Alan

Title: Girls Who Gossip
Author: Theresa Alan
Publisher: Strapless Kensington
Publication Date: April, 2006
Paperback: 311 pages
Genre: Chick-Lit
Rating: 5/10

Description: It's not mean if it's true...

Yes the rumors are true...

I'm actually coming home to Colorado for the summer. Maybe it won't be so bad. After all, I've got cocktails, shopping, and gab sessions with my girlfriends to look forward to. Plus time with my dysfunctional family. Yippee. I'm Helaina, by the way. Helaina Denner if you've known me since junior high, like Hannah and Marni. Helaina Merrill if you know me from film school at NYU. See, I lead a bit of a double life: "starving" student when in Manhattan, daughter of privilege when in Denver

And it gets even better...

...depending on your definition of "better." First off, I've picked this time to try and reconnect with my father. Which would be easier if we'd ever had anything resembling a relationship to begin with. I guess this is one of the pitfalls of having a parent as rich as Bill Gates and as accessible as the Pope...

Seriously, some of this stuff you cannot repeat...

like what I'll tell you about Owen, the adorable journalist I just met. He's sweet, sincere, sexy...real soul mate material. But something's keeping me from letting him get too close. What's my problem, anyway? No need to answer: that's what friends are for. Now, amid high-altitude parties in Aspen, bikini waxes gone mad, and caught-on-tape blackmail fodder, I'm about to find out exactly what one heiress's problems amount to in this crazy world. Just remember, whatever I discover is off the record - for the moment, at least...

My Thoughts: I found the title and book cover very misleading as the story turned out to be something else than what I was expecting. I was expecting a light, fun chick-lit read about, well, girls who gossip. I wouldn’t classify this book as a chick-lit, though that’s what it is marketed as. Don’t get me wrong; I still enjoyed the book once I got over the initial surprise at the punch this book packs. Instead of gossip, this story is actually more about death, the grieving process, dysfunctional families, and revenge. Add in some friends, an internship at a magazine and a budding relationship and you get this book.

The main character is Helaina Denner and she is returning home to Denver for the summer. Her mother recently died under mysterious circumstances a few months back and Helaina is still reeling from the shock and having a difficult time coping with the grieving process. For the most part, she is happy to be back at home and reconnecting with her best friends, Hannah and Marni. She is hoping to reconnect with her father but that proves next to impossible. Helaina discovers that her mother’s sister, Claudia, has moved in and is most likely having an affair with Helaina’s father. I know…ewwwww, right?

Helaina is offered an intern position at a local magazine by a friend of the family and meets Owen who is her boss’ stepson and, it turns out, is also working at the magazine. Helaina thinks the experience gained will be beneficial to her budding filmmaker career.

Things get interesting when Helaina decides to do a little investigating and locates her mother’s journal hidden away in a secret compartment of her mother’s desk. Upon reading the journal, Helaina is given a front-row seat into the despair her mother was feeling, knowing her husband has been unfaithful for most of their marriage, but to also learn that her husband is having an affair with her own sister. The sister she has allowed to move into her home, who she has given money to over the years. Sadly, Helaina’s mother is the victim of gossip as everyone seems to know about her marriage problems, even her hairdresser. Helaina decides she wants revenge on her father and aunt for their part in destroying her mother’s happiness which she believes is the reason behind her death, though the issue of whether Helaina’s mother committed suicide or died because she lost control of her car in a tragic accident is never clarified.

I liked Helaina and felt a lot of sympathy for her. I found her behavior very understandable under the circumstances and hated the way her father treated her. I thought he was a very selfish man who didn’t deserve one smidgen of success or happiness. The outcome of the story leads me to believe that her father and aunt get their comeuppance but there were still a lot of unresolved issues. Fortunately, Helaina makes a major breakthrough when she realizes that we don’t get to choose our family and that working through her grief brings her closer to her mother.

So, chick-lit fans, this is not a light, funny, typical chick-lit read, but it’s a good story that’s worth a look.

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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)