Rating: 2 stars
After working two decades as an actor, Gina Sorrell returns to her first love of writing. She is a graduate with distinction of the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, and also the author of Mothers and Other Strangers.
In the book, Wise Women, popular advice columnist Wendy Wise has been guiding the women who write to her seeking help for love for four decades, so why are her own daughters’ lives such a mess? One daughter Clementine, is a working mother of a six-year-old boy discovers that her husband, Steve has been secretly stashing their money into his failing start-up. Drama continues as her sister Barb is navigating an unstable career and love life.
The cover of the book caught my eye, and I was excited to read this story of family dynamics among the women, but was very disappointed in the read. This book had a strong start, I was initially drawn in by the story and had fun meeting the characters. Sadly, once I met them, I found them all (including the child) incredibly annoying. I have a hard time in general with the perspective of “poor me, I’m a wealthy, attractive white woman,” and this book was chock full of rich people whining and complaining. I caught myself rolling my eyes several times while reading this book because so many things just “worked out.” I felt that there were some missed opportunities in developing the fragile and complex relationships and found that all the characters were selfish and complained a great deal of the time.
There were some missed opportunities in developing the fragile and complex relationships, and the conversation felt very stiff and not natural, but it’s a comforting, feel good read.
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GBC Reader Reviews
I loved this book—the characters were well-drawn, the dialogue smart and witty, and the themes of family, career, aging, parenthood, and the desire for a place to belong, were all so relatable. I could really “see” this book and think it would make a great movie.
Loved The Wise Women!
I have to disagree with the review above. I picked this book up early, and, after seeing it get raves in WaPo, NYT and People, my initial reaction seems confirmed. This is an entertainment of the first order, a page turner with heart, and a story that snaps.
At its heart, it’s about a mother and two daughters – or rather, a mother in name, a mother in deed, and a child in need. The story grips you from the start, when Clementine has the rug torn from under her: the house she thought she lived in with her young son will shortly be going up for sale, and the shreds of life to which she’s hanging on are all being pulled away from her. The person who comes in to help is not her mother, it’s her sister, who would seem to have things under control except she’s permanently waiting for the other shoe to drop: will it be her biggest client, a developer, or her (younger) cheating girlfriend who delivers the blow? One thing the sisters agree on: don’t call Mom. Only, Mom, with her spider sense, comes calling anyway.
This book gives you what you want, what you expect, and much much more. The supporting cast is wide ranging – a PTA hell-raiser, bullying schools friend, long lost lover, Instagram star and her hangers on – but all are memorable, and every one has a role to play. The storylines are imaginative but grounded, edifying while being snappy and chatty, and the author gives the reader so much to laugh about (and worry over) (and think about in his or her own life) that even as the final pages turn, you want to read the next chapter. Sequel, please.