THIS STORY IS REALLY FUN. This the first book by Sarah Strohmeyer that I have read, and thus it is also my introduction to Bubbles Yablonsky. The author can write, and Bubbles is delightful! When I read the publisher's description of this novel, I felt that it was lighter fiction than I usually read, perhaps resembling a soap opera between two book covers. However, since I am always interested in discovering new authors who I might enjoy and Ms. Strohmeyer's first novel had won an Agatha Award (best first mystery), I decided that her latest book was worth a few hours of my time. While I usually avoid terms such as chick lit because I feel that they are somewhat limiting and not actually very descriptive, in this case the term fits this book about Bubbles perfectly. However, while this book is primarily about chicks (of all types) and probably will be read primarily by chicks, I recommend it to anyone who simply wants a light read featuring a wonderful heroine (although that is not how Bubbles would describe herself).
BUBBLES, A BROAD from Lehigh,PA, is a hairdresser who is auditioning for a position as a reporter for the local newspaper, the NEWS-TIMES. She fancies herself an amateur detective and thus perceives an opportunity to secure her future employment by the newspaper when Carol Weaver, a local woman convicted of the murder of her husband, visits Bubbles after escaping from prison and entreats Bubbles to prove Carol's innocence. After being shocked by Carol's appearance on her doorstep, Bubbles quickly regroups and her fabulous powers of observation lead her razor sharp mind to immediately form the question "More important, where did she find that matching sweater set and cashmere pearls ?".Bubbles is a star graduate of Two Guys Community College, a recycled discount department store where the location of the guidance counselor's cubicle is still marked by the Aisle Five sign. Therefore, not surprisingly, she has very acute powers of observation regarding all things related to fashion or hair. In one encounter she tries not to react with visible horror when one of her interviewees is actually wearing clothing constructed of "so many natural fibers". She has a strained relationship with her ex-husband Dan and worries about the advantages which he and his current wife Wendy can provide for their teenage daughter Jean in comparison with Bubbles given her current limited financial assets. Finally, her current boyfriend is Steve Stiletto, an AP reporter whose name certainly seems apt given his physique and charm.
So the questions multiply as the action proceeds. Will Steve and Bubbles become lovers? Will the petty jealousies at the newspaper doom Bubblers chance of gaining a permanent job as a reporter? Why doesn't Carol Weaver's pregnant daughter Kiera want to be interviewed by Bubbles? Who is Lorena Ludwig and will she remember Bubbles and the infamous glitter gel incident? Why does Jane's boyfriend "G" need a brain eraser when he keeps referring to Bubbles as Mrs. Robinson in one of the most hilarious episodes in the book? And, oh yes, by the way, does Bubbles ever identify the murderer? Is it one of the lesbian lovers, or part of a massive corporate cover up at Lehigh Steel?
In the hands of a less talented author, this might have been a pale copy of a combination Harlequin romance, mystery and the soap opera to which I previously referred. But the author's touch is almost perfect, although perhaps slightly overdone at times. The pitch of the language is wonderful, and Bubbles is striving for what we all hope to accomplish - to be the best that she can be. So if you are a chick lit fan, or just want to have a good time enjoying an easy read, BUBBLES A BROAD clearly comes close to four stars. And you if you're paying attention and can get past Bubble's idiom, you'll even find some pretty insightful observations about human nature.
Disclaimer: Based on my previous reviews, I was furnished an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book by the publisher. I have never met either the author or any representatives of the publisher. I made no representations or promises regarding any review that I might write. However, I have included this disclaimer in the interests of complete disclosure so that the reader may have all significant information concerning any facts that may be viewed as having biased my review.