Review: The Real Liddy James by Natasha Preston

Title: The Real Liddy James
Author: Anne-Marie Casey
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Source: Free ARC from G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Rating: B

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from G.P. Putnam’s Sons in exchange for my honest review (and trust me, honest is always what you’ll get).

Summary: Liddy James appears to have it all: a successful and satisfying career, two beautiful boys, and all the perks that come along with privilege. She even seems to have a wonderful relationship with her older son’s quasi-stepmother, both sides working together to co-parent. But, success comes at a cost, and the reality of that cost comes crashing down on Liddy at the worst possible time, leaving her wondering what the right path is for her.

Review: The reviews for this book are all over the place and I think that has less to do with the quality of the book and more to do with the individual reader’s interpretation of the author’s intent. The writing itself was very good. Truth be told, I didn’t like any of the characters. I wouldn’t want to be Liddy’s friend or Rose’s or Peter’s. It isn’t that they are bad people, we just don’t have the same priorities. Which is fine. I don’t have to like them to understand where they are coming from or to have compassion for their circumstances. Is it their own fault they end up where they do? Absolutely. Is that the case for all of us? Usually.

So, I didn’t really like Liddy. This probably has a lot to do with her world view not meshing with mine. She is one of those people who thinks it’s possible to have it all. I’m one of those people who believes you can’t give 100% to any one thing, and when you try to, you always wind up making sacrifices that you might regret later. This is true of ALL people, not just women. I’ve been the successful business woman who worked insane hours while being a single parent, and I am currently the stay at home mom who loves her kids and misses working like crazy. Having had it both ways, I can tell you from experience, for some of us, there is no perfect answer. There is no such thing as giving 110%. You have 100% to give. That is all. And that is pretty much the realization that Liddy comes to. That she has been kidding herself. That there isn’t enough of her to go around and she has to choose. And I think that premise is what makes some people so angry.

But I digress, I didn’t like Liddy at first. But, as she started to embrace reality, she seemed less one-dimensional and more relatable. And the truth is, this book wasn’t just about Liddy, it was about her life and all the people in it. And reflected in those people, you see all the mistakes and worries and self-defeating behaviors so many of us engage in, and the ways in which they not only hurt us, but those we love. And we see that there is almost always time to step back, reevaluate, and make adjustments. Once we realize we don’t have the life we want, we can start taking steps in a new direction.

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