Not a book I'd recommend...the author had a lot of cliche ideas and tried to use them all. I think if she had only picked a couple and fleshed them out, it could have been a great story. There are even a few blatant problems - like on one page it refers to her daughter being a freshman in college during the main character's divorce..but on the next page (and throughout the book) she is a college freshman now...not then. I think this writer has potential, but I probably won't pick up another of hers for a while.
I was interested in this book because of the topic: romantic life after 40. After getting it based on the A- rating from All About Romance, I was thoroughly disappointed in "Leaving Normal". The book needs an active editor overseeing a major rewrite. There was so much bad grammar and and so many misspelled/misused words, it was hard for me to concentrate on the story line. It didn't help that the author didn't seem 100% certain where the story was going, exactly - it seemed to jump all over the place, like reading the mind of someone with ADD. I kept thinking, "Huh?? Where are we going??"
Her metaphors were wonky and meaningless - handwriting that couldn't find its way out of a paper bag?? Huh?? There were an incredible number of cliches. There was so much unnecessary "product placement" in the text - store names, brand names, TV shows - that the story is already dated. None of it added anything to character development or plot. I just kept wondering over and over where she was going - and finished the book still wondering... Ok, I got the gist of it: heroine over 40, younger hero, happy ending - what were all the rest of those words in this book about?
The AAR review gushed about the hero being so refreshing, with his unassuming confidence and lack of ego. Now, how did we know that? Because the author kept telling us, over and over - he was unassuming, he was confident, he had no ego, he was a gorgeous hunk with women falling all over him but hey, he didn't care about them because he had no ego. The author seemed to miss that all-important plot-writing point: show don't tell, because she just kept telling us and telling us and...
I guess I've been spoiled by better romance books, and was expecting better characters, better plot, better writing from a book with an A- rating from AAR. Leaving Normal was a disappointment and a waste of time, mostly because it had the bones of a good story but wasn't ready to be published.
This was a new-to-me author and I am on the hunt for more! So much deeper and realistic than the back of the book initially lead me to believe. A terrific read for someone sensitive about her age, newly single or even trying to regain touch with the stronger, self-sufficient side of herself.
The Firefighter Calendar's Mr. May Tony Cruz can't quite keep himself away from Natalie, the lovely divorcee, nine years his senior, who lives accross the street.
Natalie only wanted independence after 20 years of marriage and hot firefighters aren't on her to do list!
Cute fast beach read.
Very good example of 'older woman / younger man' story. Natalie, a divorced mother of a college student meets Tony, a gorgeous hunk of a firefighter. She thinks she is too old for him, but he sets out to prove her wrong.