Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Idea of Him (Book Review)

Title: The Idea of Him
Author: Holly Peterson
Publication Information: William Morrow, Trade Paperback, April 2014
Genre: Fiction verging on Chick Lit
Setting: 21st century NYC
Plot: Chick lit used to refer to a genre of fiction involving sprightly single women experiencing the travails of love and a usually not too demanding career, surrounded by friends and family (in that order).  The genre expanded (perhaps as that first group of Bridget Jones readers aged, or perhaps because the industry needed some fresh plots) to include busy working women, with bland or troubled marriages, facing some kind of challenge, sometimes with the spouse.  Points/extra credit if the book is set in a vibrant city like New York or London, though I am partial to the quaint village backdrop which is a favorite of British authors such as Katie Fforde.

Here, heroine Allie Crawford is an overcommitted mother of two, a public relations executive living on the Upper East Side with a gregarious husband, Wade, who runs a trendy magazine.   Soon we learn that Allie is defined by two things that predate her seemingly happy family life: the loss of her father in a plane crash when she was 16 and her belief that she missed out on the love of her life with her closest childhood friend, James.  From time to time she also longs to resurrect the writing career she abandoned to help support the family.  In the midst of all this angst, she makes an extremely unlikely friend and becomes involved in uncovering a mystery encompassing nearly all the men in her life.   Ultimately, Allie has to decide what she really wants and if she is obsessed with the idea of a man in her life, rather than any actual man.

Audience: Fans of Jane Heller, Olivia Goldsmith, and my fellow NNHS alumna Laura Zigman.  Bestselling author Holly Peterson worked in magazine publishing and was an award-winning producer for ABC News - she knows her audience and genre.  You can connect with Holly on Facebook or Twitter.
What I liked: Even the parts of this book that were extremely improbable were entertaining; the author’s writing style is amusing and ironic.  I thought the book worked best when describing Allie’s job and acquaintances, rather than dwelling on her ongoing self-pity.  I liked the screenwriting class she took, with an absurd teacher, and didn’t object to the appearance of a handsome male character turning up just when Allie’s ego needed boosting (alas, there are always more attractive single men in NYC fiction than in real life).  In some ways, Allie’s NYC life was not very different from many of my friends and neighbors when I lived on East 89th Street.  Overall, The Idea of Him is a fun read with plenty of humor to offset the somber moments.   I enjoyed Peterson’s previous book, The Manny, and recommend this one also as a fast and pleasant read.

What I disliked:  Allie spends a lot of time whining instead of doing anything and leans on others too much.   Luckily, the author agreed with me and addressed this issue - in fact, you could say it's the theme of the book! 

Source:  I received this book from TLC Book Tours, and invite you to visit other stops on the tour below for other perspectives on The Idea of Him.   In addition, the publisher has generously provided a copy of the book for me to give away along with the candle pictured above.  Please leave a comment about your favorite book set in NYC if you are interested.

Holly’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, April 1st: cupcake’s book cupboard - Review and Giveaway
Wednesday, April 2nd: Mom in Love With Fiction
Thursday, April 3rd: bookchickdi
Friday, April 4th: BookNAround
Monday, April 7th: Olduvai Reads
Wednesday, April 9th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, April 10th: Always With a Book - Review and Giveaway
Monday, April 14th: Anita Loves Books - Review and Giveaway
Tuesday, April 15th: Luxury Reading - Review and Giveaway
Thursday, April 17th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Friday, April 18th: From L.A. to LA - Review and Giveaway
Monday, April 21st: The many thoughts of a reader
Tuesday, April 22nd: No More Grumpy Bookseller - Review and Giveaway
Wednesday, April 23rd: Teresa’s Reading Corner
Thursday, April 24th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, April 25th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews - Review and Giveaway
Monday, April 28th: Sara’s Organized Chaos - Review and Giveaway
Tuesday, April 29th: Book-alicious Mama (Q & A)
Tuesday, April 29th: Drey’s Library - Review and Giveaway
Wednesday, April 30th: Seaside Book Nook - Review and Giveaway


Anonymous said...

My favorite book set in New York is The Nanny Diaries. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.



Sveta said...

Never been in New York, but I loved The Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman :)

Sveta said...

This is Sveta from previous comment: Forgot to include my email: s Underscore libenson AT yahoo DOT com. Thanks!

Susie said...

New York setting?? Just one? The Penny Parrish stories with their Broadway background caught me young. And then Franny and Zooey -- the Glass family apartment was to die for.
But Laurie Colwin's Happy All the Time is my all-time favorite. Friends, family -- love turns us all to mush.

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for being a part of the tour.

Jen D-K said...

Breakfast at Tiffany's! It's a novella rather than a whole book, but it should still count, right?