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Suzanne Davis Gets a Life (2014)

Suzanne Davis lives in a shoebox of an apartment in New York, writing press releases for an air-conditioning company, avoiding her vastly annoying mother and has the ever-increasing sound of her biological clock ticking. With her 35th birthday approaching, she decides to take matters into her own hands and employ the Jane Austen technique of keeping things small. But rather than focusing on three or four families in a village, she decides to search for her soul mate in her own apartment building. Her search takes us through a number of different social groups, namely the mothers in the local playground, a book club, dog walking group, her work and the ageing Jewish residents in her block. Whilst focusing all of her efforts on getting a life, Suzanne discovers that she has a serious illness, which causes her to re-evaluate her life and what she wants from it. Suzanne's character narrates the story and it is at times witty and always self-deprecating. You get drawn into her desire to meet the right partner and to settle down. I found the constant references to the size of her apartment and that she pays $200 an hour to see her therapist a bit wearing after a while. There were some witty and amusing parts; my favourite was her quest to help the elderly Jewish residents. However, I found that the author launched into descriptive paragraphs and detail which I started to skim over. The reference to her annoying toxic mother for the early stages of the book were not really substantiated in my view, however when Suzanne falls ill, her view of her mother is altered. Overall, there were witty one-liners, but nothing that made me laugh out loud and I never really felt that I truly connected with the character so couldn't sympathise with her as much when she became ill. This was a relatively short novel, less than 200 pages, and I did find myself at times skimming through the descriptive passages. Worth a look but not my cup of tea. (EH)

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