Title: Ten Girls to Watch
Author: Charity Shumway
Review: I have great things to say about the beginning and the ending of this book….but I have to tell you that the middle just drug…on….and….on. The beginning got me ready to read a fast paced book about love, loss, growing up and growing apart, but the middle left me desperate to put the book down and read something else. The ending made me smile and glad that I had slugged through the middle, but I really wished the middle could have been edited tighter and made more interesting to the reader.
I loved the way the women who had won the contest years ago spoke of their lives now compared to what they thought they would be like. I loved the fact that most of them agreed that ‘You can’t have it all.’ But they had fabulous lives that were filled with adventure and meaning anyway. Lives that were the envy of many and made great magazine articles.
One of the winners, a friend of the protagonist Dawn, told her that she knew everything would work out. She told her that she knew this because of her life experience and the evidence that she had built over-time and that Dawn would find that out as she accomplished things in her life and built up her own reserves of evidence. Growing-up is difficult and when you think you are finally there you realize you still have a lot to learn. Dawn had things to learn about life, careers, friends, and love. Wonderful advice from the women made this book inspirational, but too long and drawn out in my opinion. More about Dawn and less about the women would have helped move this story along.
The story sucked me in but then just slowed to a crawl. I kept reading here and there wondering when things would get interesting again….and when the booked picked up again, I finally finished it. I did enjoy the ending and even shed a few tears. Dawn had a hard time at it for awhile, but with the evidence stacking in her favor I think….well you will have to read the book if you really want to know.
Lots of good things in this book and lots of dead air also. A good 100 pages could be cut to make this a book you couldn’t put down…I wish the editor had taken a stronger hand and done that…it would have made a much better all-around enjoyable book capable of best-seller status.
Publisher: Published July 31st 2012 by WashingtonSquare Press
Quick Review: 3 out of 5…Great beginning and end…the middle needs work
Why I Read It: Sent by the publisher for review.
Synopsis: A radiant debut novel about stumbling through the early years of adulthood— and a love letter to the role models who light the way. Like so many other recent graduates, Dawn West is trying to make her way in New York City. She’s got an ex-boyfriend she can’t quite stop seeing, a roommate who views rent checks and basic hygiene as optional, and a writing career that’s gotten as far as penning an online lawn care advice column.
So when Dawn lands a job tracking down the past winners of Charm magazine’s “Ten Girls to Watch” contest, she’s thrilled. After all, she’s being paid to interview hundreds of fascinating women: once outstanding college students, they have gone on to become mayors, opera singers, and air force pilots. As Dawn gets to know their life stories, she’ll discover that success, love, and friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. Most importantly, she’ll learn that while those who came before us can be role models, ultimately, we each have to create our own happy ending.
Author Biography: Charity Shumway received an MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University and a BA in English from Harvard University. Her writing has appeared in Glamour, where she reported on the fiftieth anniversary of the magazine’s “Top Ten College Women” contest, Ladies Home Journal, and Fitness, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New Youk.