Saturday, January 10, 2009
Jumble Pie by Malanie Lynne Hauser
Last week I got an email offering an electronic copy of Jumble Pie, Melanie Lynne Hauser's as yet unpublished first novel. In her introduction, Hauser explains that this is the book that she first brought to her agent, but then her Supermom books were published and this manuscript sits on a shelf. So, until it's published, she's made it available electronically to promote interest.
I've not read the SuperMom books (though I might in the near future) but Jumble Pie had all of the things I look for in a good chick lit book, tests of friendship, complicated parental relationships and an emphasis on a random dessert food, so I dove in and I was not disappointed.
Emily Meredith and Juliet Montague meet in 7th grade Home Ec class, where they create Jumble Pie. Emily is the quintessential overachiever. Her mother tells everyone she meets how Em started talking at 9 months, and it seems she never stopped. She dreams of being a writer and works hard to be different.
Meanwhile, Juliet is dealing with her parents recent divorce and a move to a new school. She is quiet and shy, awkward and believes she's dumb. Her pleasure rests in the domestic, keeping her surroundings neat and orderly, and the comforts of the kitchen. Their relationship is classic codependent, Em is the leader and Juliet the follower.
Then comes college, and as so often happens, everything changes.
The novel does a great job of expressing the life changes that come with growing up, and how often it feels as though our lives are living us, instead of the other way around. While one girl fails, and the other succeeds, neither one really seems to know how they got there. Neither one is entirely sympathetic, Em is selfish and annoying while Jules insecurities tend to grate, but I found myself caring deeply about their friendship and their lives.
I fervently hope that this book will be published, and enjoyed it enough to search out the author's other works. In the meantime, if any of my readers are interested in reading Jumble Pie, you can download your own copy here.
- I'm human, so I've got some issues, but all things considered I guess I'm reasonably normal. My parents are still married. My best friends are my sisters...okay, so I'm normal for the 1850's whatever. I'm opinionated and nerdy. I'm walking the line between tweener-style pop culture love (witness my ever-burning New Kids love and inexplicable Twilight obsession) and elitist culture snob (I can't seem to get enough 19th century British Lit and historical biographies) but, after 30 years, I'm finally learning not to give a crap what anyone else thinks about me. Oh, and those are my feet in the picture. The socks were made by a friend.