Title: Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Married
Author: Heather McElhatton
Review: After reading this book two things were clear; Heather McElhatton is a very good writer, and she has mastered the ability to write humor that is actually funny (a lot harder than you would think). Unfortunately her humor was extremely lazy, so much so that she only had the one joke and repeated it several times. Now more often than not the joke was told expertly, but with the talent she obviously has I would have really enjoyed it if she had expanded her repertoire.
So if I say all conservative Christians are silly, not as smart as us, racist, lying, deceitful, manipulative, bigoted, homophobes and you think “right on”, then this is going to be the funniest book you have read in a long time. She hits the well page after page and churns out unending jokes on that premise until the cows come home. Some of them were downright hilarious, but in the end they just got stale.
We start out with the disaster of a honeymoon wherein our heroine has been given a week at a Caribbean resort. Unfortunately it is a Christian resort without alcohol, the yoga is called joy-go (yoga with the influences of Satan removed), and ultimately a bad case of food poisoning. Once back in the great state of Minnesota she then has to deal with all the bad people in her life, the above mentioned Christian conservatives. It is a constant struggle against her in-laws and their backward thinking, with them beating her down until ultimately she finds her inner strength to overcome.
The conclusion is a one-two punch of absurdity that suddenly jumps into the story without build-up, or any explanation. It was like watching the last 10 minutes of a movie at 64 times the speed. By rights the second punch should have been a novel unto itself but the author simply decided to skip ahead a year, cheating the reader out of the details. Plus it was far removed from any semblance of reality, even compared to the rest of the book, that it didn’t fit in.
In the end it was an okay book, well written, definitely funny at times, but a little stale. I look forward to the author’s new efforts because she has the ability for some really great humor writing, especially of she takes some risks and leaves the one joke behind. And lest I forget, the funniest character in the whole book was the refrigerator, which just goes to show how creative the author can be.
Quick Review: 3 stars out of 5
Why I Read It: I enjoy humorous fiction.
Where I Obtained the Book: Sent to me by the publisher for review. TLC Tour
Synopsis: No so terribly long ago, Heather McElhatton's flawed, neurotic, yet lovable average American heroine Jennifer Johnson was sick of being single. Now Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Married. The author who brought us the wildly popular Pretty Little Mistakes now favors readers with the next delectably eventful chapter in Jennifer's life, as her new fairy tale marriage (to the wealthy son of a department store tycoon) hits a serious snag, thanks in no small part to a honeymoon-from-hell in a fundamentalist Christian compound and the prospect of a life of bizarre servitude to her devout mother-in-law's church committee. This is outrageously funny, wonderfully edgy contemporary women's fiction in the Helen Fielding and Sophie Kinsella mode that anyone who has ever laughed at the raunchy humor of Sarah Silverman or Chelsea Handler is going to love.
Author Biography: Heather McElhatton is an independent producer for Minnesota Public Radio and Public Radio International. Her commentaries and stories are heard regularly nationwide on This American Life, Marketplace, Weekend America, Sound Money, and The Savvy Traveler, and she hosts the live radio show called Stage Sessions. She will soon be appearing with Ira Glass on the television version of This American Life.