Sunday, August 2, 2009
Do You Want To Know a Secret?
There are always time in life when it's absolutely necessary to escape into pure frivolity. I'm currently suffering one of these episodes - the children are off school for the summer holidays and I have them undiluted for 14 hours every day. They wake fresh at six every morning , they demand feeding every two hours, they have boundless energy even after a five mile walk or 40 lengths of the swimming pool or an hour on the trampoline. And they never stop talking. Help!
To balance out such effervescence I swung past the fluffy end of the bookshop. I was seeking a pastel cover with a scribbled lower case title and bubbling prose on the blurb. I was seeking a bit of a laugh. With Do You Want To Know a Secret? I was not disappointed.
This is classic chick-lit. There are three friends with three problems and I'm happy to say that Claudia's heroines are not 20 years old with a shoe fixation - they are professional women in their thirties, with problems I can identify with.
Our principal heroine is Vicki, a successful career woman who seeks a relationship with a DSM (decent single man). Unfortunately, the minute one comes on Vicki's radar she gives off desperation vibes and the DSM runs a mile.
Then there's Barbara: she has no trouble attracting men but her career as an actress is a non-starter. She's classically trained yet auditioning for a part as a life sized cigarette in a Nicorette commercial. And Laura who has sacrificed a glittering career at the Bar to mother four unruly children: her useless husband has abandoned her for 'Miss Human Botox'.
I was particularly fond of Laura; it's comforting to realise I'm not the only mother of a pre-teen girl who frets about her weight and thinks she's going to marry a Jonas brother.
At a Mind, Body, Spirit, Health and Healing exhibition the friends learn that 'the universe' will help them achieve their heart's desire provided they think only positive thoughts (Think positive, and attract positivity, think negative and attract negativity).
Fortunately our heroines have a bit of sense; they accept simplistic new age drivel with a pinch of salt; in addition to asking 'the universe' they decide to help each other. Vicki is a great organiser. She owns a PR company and sets up from scratch a three night run of Shakespeare in the Park to showcase Barbara's acting talents. And she encourages smart, sharp Laura to write about her challenging children instead of only complaining about them, and to enter what she has written in a short story competition.
Thanks to Vicki both her friends achieve their heart's desire: Barbara gets her big career break and Laura lands a job as a columnist on a glossy magazine.
But what of lonely Vicki who seeks only a DSM? Barbara is great with the men so she takes Vicki out on the town and vets all those who chat her up.
Vicki is inundated with dates except she seems to have attracted loser men (in my opinion anyway): eager Eddie who's desperate for a woman, ex-files Pete who's still in love with his ex-girlfriend and boozer Tom, or is it Tim? Vicki can't quite remember....
Disheartened, Vicki immerses herself in work and wins a big contract with Best Advertising - she'll be working alongside Daniel Best, the gorgeous, single managing director...
Less fattening than a chocolate bar, but with just the same mood-enhancing qualities, I highly recommend Do You Want To Know a Secret? to all stressed out mothers counting the days until their children go back to school.