This is a fun and fluffy chick lit story about a single mom whose husband abandoned her and her kids three years earlier, only to return in a fit of conscience and give her the summer off. It’s the first time Amy has been free to tend to her own needs and make her own choices since her early 20s, when she married and had kids. She goes from Pennsylvania to New York, initially to attend a librarian conference as a speaker (hence the whole “overdue life” bit–it’s an allusion to her profession), and then to stay with a college best friend who now runs a beauty magazine. She thus finds herself the subject of the article “Momspringa”: a newly coined term meaning a sabbatical from mom-hood. They give her a makeover, send her to daily exercise classes and the spa and out for fancy meals every day, turn her into a Twitter sensation, and set her up on a series of blind dates with eligible men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, at the conference, she meets hot single dad librarian Daniel, and they have fantastic chemistry… but they don’t want to pursue an actual relationship, because she’s supposed to go home at the end of the summer, and then where would they be?
That’s the light and fluffy stuff. As the story goes on, though, Amy starts to have more of an identity crisis. Why is she enjoying being away from her kids so much? Does that make her no better than her ex (who isn’t technically her ex because she never bothered to file for divorce)? Does John, said ex, want her back now? Does she want him back? Has she settled into the identity of the woman John martyred all those years ago, refusing to accept help so that she can stay stuck in her bitterness? Can she forgive him and move on with her life–either with him or without him?
I was wondering how the story could possibly end about halfway through, because while I love the transformation Amy gets to experience in New York, she still does have kids back home, and she’s so conflicted between John and Daniel. In a normal rom-com, she’d obviously end up with Daniel… but this is more chick lit than rom-com. It’s less about her romantic life and more about finding herself. She’s still got a life she loves back in Pennsylvania, and a lot of history and baggage with her ex-husband, who, yes, abandoned her, but is actually portrayed as a rather sympathetic character. I’m glad it ended the way it did, though. By the time the story got there, we the reader get to experience the evolution of Amy’s thoughts and feelings with her such that it really couldn’t end any other way. She finds herself, she finds peace, and she gets a second chance at happiness.
My rating: ****
Language: if there is any, I can’t remember it, so it wasn’t significant.
Violence: none. Other than Amy fantasizing about bashing her ex’s head in, which is actually rather comical.
Sexual content: lots. It’s not like you get every detail, but it’s definitely there, and extramarital sex is portrayed as normal and expected. This seems more like just the worldview of the author and less like an agenda she’s pushing, though, so it didn’t bother me.
Political content: again, the worldview of the author is fairly obvious, so there is a decent amount of it. But here too, it doesn’t bother me because it doesn’t feel like an agenda on her part, it’s just something she takes for granted. (I don’t mind reading books written by authors who see the world differently than I do, provided I don’t feel like they’re trying to manipulate me into thinking the same way!)