When life is just right, when all the pieces are in place, when your dreams have come true yet, somehow, the final ingredient in your happiness cake seems to be missing, what then? What is the elusive, indefinable something and where do you begin to look for it? Will you ever find it? Does it even exist? Such is the plight of Debra Borden’s heroine, Julie Berman. I use the term heroine advisedly. It takes a subtle kind of heroism to keep the domestic ship afloat. It may look like smooth sailing but only to those who have never had to juggle the conflicting demands and stresses. Julie has a supportive husband and kids she loves. She has a career that looks like it might take off in a big way. She has close friends and extended family. She even has a mild but exciting flirtation-in-progress to add some extra spice. So why the sense of unease and how to combat its symptoms before the SS Perfect Family capsizes beyond all possibility of rescue? Julie takes a close look at her affluent and privileged upbringing in an attempt to figure it all out. A series of domestic crises cause her to confront herself with some honest truths and those truths help her to resolve her dilemmas and to restore her life’s even keel.
So there it is — another cleverly spun, fun to read family saga replete with disaster successfully averted. Why read this one which could be a clone of so many? Because it’s wickedly, hysterically, funny that’s why! Borden squeezes every rich drop of humor out of family relationships with a writing style both flawless and flowing. Julie’s recurring dream featuring herself as the guest star on Oprah could become a true comedy classic. My only quibble is that the happily-ever-after resolution is too perfect, too easy, too good to be true. But there are worse things in life than a perfectly happy ending. So relax and enjoy the ride through this delightful, charming story — lucky you!
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.