Whole Latte Life by Joanne Demaio
Long time friends Sarah Beth and Rachel decide to go into New York to celebrate their fortieth birthdays together, kind of a girls weekend. They had charted out plans of things to see and do together, and over a lunch in a Manhattan restaurant, Sarah Beth takes this opportunity to excuse herself to use the restroom and then…
Well, not exactly disappears as a frantic Rachel soon finds out. She did leave a note:
Please don’t tell Tom about this. I really need some time alone Rachel to sort things out. I am so sorry to do this now on our fortieth birthdays. I know it means a lot to you and I promise you another celebration. We go back a long way and you are the only one who will understand and let me do this. Let me walk away from it all for a little while. It sounds crazy I know. Please give me these couple of days alone to try to figure it out, to figure me out.
~page 5, Whole Latte Life
Ok… who has ever wanted to run away from the life they have? *raises hand* I admit, I have had times in my life where I have thought “If only I could just get away from it all – no phones no communications, just me on my own”. This is usually accompanied by some virtual vision of me either living in the woods and living off the land, or in a better scenario, alone at a beach house, far enough away from civilization that I can be at peace and alone, but not so far that I can’t drive in to a small town for groceries or a take out pizza.
In Whole Latte Life, Sarah Beth takes that step that most of us have day dreamed about, and then push the thought aside as we get ready for our jobs, or cook supper. As a character, I honestly can’t say I liked her. Sarah Beth’s choices from the very beginning came off to me as selfish, and she never really redeemed herself in my eyes until the very end. I understand in this book she has had a major loss in her life that contributes to much of her “fight or flight”, but I am thinking get yourself some help sister… see someone you can talk too. (Oh, and dont even get me started on her husband who goes from one extreme… to another). I am hoping I do not come off as not understanding what Sarah was going through…
I would also say, as I write this, that Sarah Beth is going through a bit of a mid-life crisis, and maybe saying “a bit” is not strong enough…. I would say it is a BIG TIME mid-life crisis. She dwells on the path not taken, she wonders if an old flame may still be out there waiting for her… she has kids and a husband, but she seems to not think of them first, but instead herself. (Which again makes me think get this girl a hotline to some therapy!)
Rachel on the other hand, I liked. Widowed with a daughter, she is a good and patient friend to Sarah Beth, at least as much as she could be. Her story line I found carried the book, even though the synopsis on the back of the book is all about Sarah Beth and Rachel’s name is not even mentioned.
My final thoughts: What I had hoped to get out of this book was a story of strong female friendship against all odds. In a way that happened, but much differently than I thought. I feel Rachel takes the leading role here not only as a true friend but as the story line I was most interested in. I felt Sarah Beth got away with way too much for her family to endure as they did… and maybe that is just me being me.
The book is well written, and my ability to like or not like a character – is most likely, my issue.
I recommend this book to anyone who ever felt their life was crumbling around them and survived through a supportive family or a great friend.
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