Erin Green returns to the blog today with a clever twist on a break-up story in
The Single Girl’s Calendar
Esmé is set for her seven year anniversary with Andrew, convinced that this weekend (as opposed to the 7 years of weekends that came before) is the one where he’ll propose – just in time for a June wedding. She’s constantly dissecting relationships with her friends at work, in fact, they are expecting a celebration come the following Monday all to rehash and talk about each detail. And then, in her massive preparation for the ‘big event’ she discovers an earring in their bed – an earring that isn’t hers. Sure, she goes ballistic and confronts him – the adultery is confirmed, and Esmé leaves with a few belongings and a shattered heart to stay at a city center hotel. A tearful call to her best friend Carys brings her a tiny chocolate filled advent calendar, “The Single Girls Calendar” full of daily tasks and focuses that distract and divert your attention away from the man who was once your focus. Not truly believing, but also not a particularly self-directed person, Esmé starts to follow the tasks.
From changing up a look (haircut and color) to reading childhood favorites, dining alone and making a wish list – the tasks are meant to open the new single’s horizons and give them a sort of busy-work that will, hopefully, help them to redefine their hopes and dreams for the future that has been newly unearthed. Of course, first up on the list is to find somewhere to live: her parent’s spare room beckons, but her older brother and friend are obviously in a spat over Kyle’s inability to come up with the money for a house share – and Esmé jumps in. Now sharing a house with 4 of her brother’s friends, she’s at least got a roof over her head and a place to call her own. Three of the four housemates are known to her: her brother’s friends Russ (engineer), Dam (physicist and lecturer) and Josh (model): Asa is the only one she hasn’t met – and their introduction will involve a fireplace poker and plenty of crossed connections. In fact, every interaction between Esmé and Asa is edgy – his pushing her to discover her own likes and stop following along, her judgmental statements and bit of aimless perseveration lead to some moments that are clever and push her to grow up and make choices rather than just wait for an invitation or a person to tell her what she should think / do / be.
For me, Esmé was difficult to truly enjoy full stop – she was so boxed into the way that she thought things should be, with her ‘shopping list’ for the future and her never-ending way of pushing her beliefs and judgments onto everyone and everything else. There was a smugness about her at first, particularly with her relationship with Andrew, that seemed to defy her even being able to contemplate his cheating –so of course, the universe needed to drop a rock in her plans. What she didn’t see for so very long was that she was a chameleon – changing her wants (or not actually having them) until she saw what way the wind blew – and what would be the decision that most people would want. It took a bit for her to come out of that childish approach to decisions, she wasn’t unaware of being unfulfilled – just a bit tone deaf to it: and while she was drawn to Asa and his caring nature, she wasn’t always able to deal with the tumult he caused for her: a man who is bluntly honest, living each moment as if it is special and important, and prodding, poking and sometimes dragging Esmé along for the ride. She’s stuck and not always aware of the undercurrents around her, and often quick to take a little baby step as proof she’s moved on, changed and is determining her own destiny in a way that will, eventually, open doors to a life that is fulfilled, happy and more than she could dream.
Erin Green has crafted a story with plenty of wonderful secondary characters that often serve to show just how limited Esmé is in her life, and the transformation for her is a slow process, with plenty of backsliding and unearned self-congratulatory moments quickly realigned with her own self-conscious actions or spontaneous decisions that are little more than a half-baked copy of someone else’s conscious and defined decisions. What kept me reading was the honesty in her: her actual moments of self-discovery and quiet reflection that provided the answers that she often was hiding from – this was honest and real: there are times when you can’t see the hand in front of your face until it’s repeatedly waving, and many of the events in this story were simply a waving hand. Easy to read with Green’s conversational, listen to your best friend’s story style, the conversations range from deep to delightfully funny as the 30 days of tasks from The Single Girl’s Calendar push and pull Esmé in directions untested and untried.
Title: The Single Girl's Calendar
Author: Erin Green
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
Published by: Aria
Published on: 1 January, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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A task a day to cure a broken heart.
Esmé Peel is approaching thirty with some trepidation, but hope in her heart. If she can just get her long-term boyfriend Andrew to propose, she will have ticked everything off her 'things to do by the time you're 30' list. She didn't reckon on finding another woman's earring in her bed however, and soon she finds herself single, homeless and in need of a new plan. Her best friend Carys gives her the perfect present – The Single Girl’s Calendar – which has a different cure for heartbreak every day:
Day 1: Look and feel fabulous with a new hair style.
Day 2: Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.
Day 3: Reconnect with friends and enjoy!
Despite thinking it's a bit of a gimmick, Esmé hasn't got any better ideas, so she puts the plan into action. By the end of week one she has four new male housemates, and despite a broken heart she is determined to show Andrew she can do more than survive, she can thrive.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: