Thursday, June 30, 2016

Review: Girls' Weekend by Cara Sue Achterberg

Girls' Weekend
by Cara Sue Achterberg
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
2016 Story Plant
Paperback; 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-1611882285
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
Source: Review copy from Pump Up Your Book

4 / 5 Stars

Dani, Meg, and Charlotte have bonded over babies, barbeques, and backyards, but when they escape for a girls weekend away, they can t bring themselves to return to lives that don t seem to fit anymore.Harried Dani can t explain why she feels so discontented until she meets a young gallery owner who inspires her to rediscover the art that once made her happy.

Dependable Meg faces up to a grief that threatens to swallow her whole and confronts a marriage built on expectations.

Flamboyant Charlotte, frustrated with her stagnated life and marriage, pursues a playboy Irish singer and beachside business opportunities.

All three of these women thought they would be different. None of them thought they d be facing down forty and still wondering when life starts. What they do when they realize where they re headed is both inspiring and wildly entertaining.

My Thoughts
Girls' Weekend is one of those books with which you settle down with a glass of wine on a beach somewhere and enjoy the read.  While I don't think it went into as much depth as it really could have, it did make you think about your own life and how much you do for others and whether you really do have time for yourself.  I think it's great that these women were able to take the time to relax and think about what they want from life, but personally, I don't know too many women who can take weeks to themselves in order to sort themselves out and decide what to do.  

It all begins when Dani, Charlotte, and Meg decide to go away for a weekend.  Tired with their lives, wishing for something more, once the weekend is over they don't want to return to their husbands and their daily chores, so they decide to stay. To be honest, I did have a problem with the decision as, again, I am not sure how someone could leave for weeks without explaining to their spouse what is going on. I'm sure most women have fantasized about leaving for a month of two, a secluded beach with a casket of wine and a suitcase full of books being absolute heaven.  It's definitely very easy to get caught up in one's life as you cart the children all over the place, help them with their homework, make their lunches, take them shopping to get that last-minute art project piece that was due yesterday, to sew the rip in the shirt your daughter needed last week, and so on.  But re-connecting with your spouse takes time and energy and this I thought was lacking in this book.  The story was about the women coming to terms with themselves, and their growth, but the disconnect in their lives would have involved their spouses too, and I don't think there was any resolution and very little development to this at all. It was more about the men learning to live without their spouses, hoping they will notice everything the women do in their lives, and hoping something will change when they get back. But taking off for weeks doesn't really solve the problem, in my estimation, and old habits don't die out that easily. I definitely wasn't looking for a perfect ending, would have been kind of disappointed if there was, but would have liked a bit more resolution for these ladies instead of just go back to your lives and hope everyone likes the new you that was discovered in a couple of weeks.  If I sound sarcastic, it's because I am. 

I really enjoyed Meg and Dani as characters and liked their story lines, but I was not a bit fan of Charlotte's.  There was something about her that rubbed me the wrong way, and I'm sorry to say, but I was on her husband's Brett side the whole time things went sour.  Charlotte is very high-maintenance and her attitude drove me nuts.  I felt much more sympathetic towards Dani and Meg as I found them more likeable, and looked forward to when the POVs changed back to them, away from Charlotte.  I did enjoy all of their conversations, even if I disagreed with their choices, as I pictured my own girls' evening full of fun, laughter, wine, and conversation.  The author definitely understands the strength of women's bonds and friendships, as well as how fragile and emotional they can be.  

Girls' Weekend was a fun, somewhat emotional, book about friendship and re-discovering your sense of self.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading about friendship, love, and loss, and the characters seem very realistic, even if the premise isn't.  I think what it does do for women is it makes them realize that changes can be made at anytime if you really wish them to be made, it just has to start somewhere, and I'm pretty sure you don't have to rent an expensive cottage to be able to do so, as much fun as that would be.