Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

REJECTED WRITERS TAKE THE STAGE by Suzanne Kelman – my review

on 14/05/2017

When a book starts off with this chapter title – FROZEN YETIS & SCOTCH TAPE SHENANIGANS, you know you are in for a fun(ny) ride. If you have had the chance to read the first book in the Southlea Bay Series, The Rejected Writers’ Book Club, and liked it as I did, then you are looking forward to each of these chapter titles, each of the darling characters and their quirky mishaps and strong friendship. If you enjoyed Suzanne Kelman’  witty writing, you will have high expectations. 

And the author sure delivers. Yet again. Her charming tale of a group of average (ha-ha) small-town ladies, an unlikely bunch but a band of bonded pals nonetheless, joins to save a member of their Rejected Writers’ Book Club from financial ruin and losing her family farm estate (turned into a dog shelter). Do they simply pitch in with money? No. They are average people with average incomes. Do they go begging online? No. They are average (some even elderly) ladies on a remote island with an age-appropriate reluctance for social media. They set up a charity musical. Can they dance, sing or direct? No, but why should that stop them, especially with their town matron Doris pushing and pulling them all? Enough spoilers from me – let me just say the story will have it all – from feathery boas and a run-down theatre to a love triangle, catastrophe and (re)birth. And fear not, the author skillfully introduces a few segments which can help you follow even if you have missed the pleasure of reading the first part.

What I love most about the series are the characters – a cast of everyday people we all know and love, or love to hate, and I am happy to find some new ones in this book, a very welcome addition to the Southlea Bay family. I admit I would have slapped Marcy, the vixen, on several occasions, and yet she did make a certain process possible eventually. (Come to think of it, I could have even knocked some senses into Dan a few times, but yes, we all know such naive men, too.) Doris is the sort of lady we all get annoyed by, but when trouble comes knocking, you always want them on your side, Lottie and Lavinia are unique in their duality, Janet is the not-always-loud voice of reason, Martin is phenomenal and so on. Gladys is my absolute favourite although she’d (only) be getting supporting role award if it came to filming this. (What’s the hold-up, by the way?)

There is friendship and kindness in this book which is so rarely found these days; and that good feeling is what you are left with after you read it. The laughs, the giggles and chuckles, too. It reminded me in spirit to The Darling Buds of May, one of my favourite TV comedy series. So there – if you want to feel like that, read it. You may just hug your family more, call your friends again. Or simply tickle someone, just for laughs. Well done, Suzanne Kelman! Comedy with heart is not easy to do. We should all laugh more often. Thank you.

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