Tuesday, August 14, 2007

MomCat Reviews: Flirting in Cars

When MotherTalk contacted me with the offer to review Flirting in Cars, Alisa Kwitney's new book that is being publicized as a "romantic" and "sexy" novel, I thought I'd take a chance on it. The description of the book didn't exactly grab me. But, I've found myself at the bottom of a book rut that began with too many depressing and deep Oprah book club selections and ended with an embarrassing number of self-help books on everything from diet to discipline to diabetes. With all those D's it's no wonder I was a DEpressed book reader! Kwitney's novel looked to be a refreshing change of pace for me. And, I'm happy to say that it was indeed.

As I started reading, I realized something right off the bat--I might not be able to relate to Kwitney's main character--40-something Zoe, at all. In part, because my life would read as the polar opposite of Zoe's path--a single mom and journalist from Manhattan who can't drive a car or cook and only moves to the country to help her daughter in school. How would a small-town Texas girl who now lives in the burbs of a big city now with her two kids and husband, relate to eclectic Zoe who craves the crowded streets of New York and completely fears wide open spaces?

Surprisingly, what I found is that I could relate quite well! Perhaps it is Kwitney's ability to make you understand her heroine's inner struggles that helps with that. Like Zoe, I have also had my preconceived notions of rural life vs. city life blown to pieces when I found myself living in an entirely different surrounding from the life I had always known. I have pushed myself out of what is comfortable and known to change my life as well, and have felt the panic and emotional discomfort that can bring at first too.

But, in the end, I became quite fond of Kwitney's urban writer mom who loved her dyslexic daughter enough to move to her perceived end of the earth to help her.

I did note some inconsistencies with the main character though that nagged at me as I started to get into the book. Kwitney begins by showing how self-sufficient and strong Zoe is in her life as a journalist and a single-mother. It did not make sense to me that her heroine would then move to an entirely new place and NOT learn to drive or figure out a solution for transportation ahead of time? This just did not mesh with her the way she'd described her character to that point. I became a tad frustrated with her situation early on and her sudden passivity once she moved to more rural surroundings, waiting on others to come and get her so that she could even get groceries for she and her daughter.

However, the author's fun arsenal of quirky characters that Zoe meets along the way helped to distract me away and keep the story moving along. Not to mention, their odd mix of personalities and backgrounds made for some fun moments, including one Thanksgiving dinner that would top any dysfunctional family meal to which I have ever had the displeasure of attending!
At times I wished I knew more about each of these characters and what was motivating them...especially Mack, the handsome vet who gives Zoe driving lessons and manages to blow all her preconceived notions of small town guys. But, perhaps in not spelling everything out for her readers, Kwitney was adding to that air of mystery surrounding the rugged driving instructor with a surprising tender side who is fighting his own inner demons.

I have to be honest. Flirting in Cars is not a book that will change your life. But, it is a light-hearted and fun read that will make you smile and the perfect book to take to the beach, on a plane or just have on your shelf when you need a breath of fresh air. Kwitney's writing style is pleasant and she manages to keep a reader's interest with her characters by putting them all out of their comfort zones throughout the story. In the end, I found myself unable to put her book down, rooting for Zoe to finally figure it all out and stop judging the life she finds herself in and start living it. I won't tell you what happens, but I can tell you that you'll surely enjoy finding out!
This book was sponsored by MotherTalk . I received a copy of the book and an Amazon gift card for agreeing to review the book.

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