Book Review: The First Husband

This is a paid book review for the BlogHer Book Club, but the opinions are mine, all mine.

The First Husband

by Laura Dave

This book is snappy.  As in, it snaps right along.  Pick it up and begin reading and before you know it, you're fifty pages in.  The novel tells the story of Annie Adams, a travel writer with a glamorous column for a big-time newspaper (I'm imagining we're supposed to remember the days when such professions were actually still possible).  She's in a fabulous relationship with movie director Nick, whose career is just hitting the big time.  Life is good.

And then Nick dumps her. 

In her grief, Annie repairs to a bar late at night and meets the adorable chef Griffin, who she marries, abruptly and pretty much on the rebound.  Hilarity ensues.  It actually really does–the book is very funny, besides being snappy.  (Maybe funny makes it snap?) 

If you've guessed that this novel is not going to win any literary prizes, you are correct.  But I don't care, I liked it.  I like reading funny novels.  Plus, my novel is funny and many's the agent who told me they loved it but they couldn't sell comedy.  So I'm pleased to be reading a book that is funny.

Also, there's this.  The book is written in first person.  I had been reading it the night before I awoken with the directive to change my novel from third person to first person.  Coincidence?  Probably not.  So reading this novel gave me a creative charge, and I'm grateful.  (For the record, you as a writer should be reading every single damn thing you can get your little hands on and this is why.  Because it inspires you.  And teaches you.)

So that's my book review.  I'd love to hear from you how a book has inspired your writing.  Please leave a comment.

8 Responses to Book Review: The First Husband

  1. J.D. 05/31/2012 at 04:37 #

    Yes, selling comedy is tough. People want to be flogged by a memoir of nine tails.

  2. Charlotte Dixon 05/31/2012 at 07:02 #

    When I wrote my novel, I didn't set out to write funny, it just came out that way.  I had no idea it was difficult to sell funny stuff.  Ah well, we write what we write.  Thanks for commenting, J.D.

  3. Zan Marie 05/31/2012 at 07:41 #

    I love first person! In fact, I find close third very hard. I tried third with I started, but soon found my MC talking in first and I haven’t gone back…yet. ; )

    BTW this sound fun.

  4. Charlotte Dixon 05/31/2012 at 07:55 #

    It is actually a really fun book, Zan Marie.  It's so funny, I was just reading over my rewritten chapter in first person and it sounds so much more natural than the original third!  But Emma Jean was written in close-in third and I guess I just always thought I'd keep writing in that.  Thanks for commenting.

  5. Heather Jenkins 05/31/2012 at 09:14 #

    I love snappy books. That usually means the author has eliminated wordiness, unnecessary information, and the boring parts readers skip! Why write a 600-page book when a 400-page book tells the same story…and better? Word economy is key to snap. My favorite writers use snappy, witty dialogue with action-packed narration to move the story along. But they also know how to slow me down and give me a moment to breathe, recuperate, and process.

    Too many books to list here have inspired my writing. Honestly, GOOD writing inspires me. Although, bad writing does, too. Makes me a bit more confident in my abilities. Terrible, huh? To think, “If THAT guy can get published, then for SURE I can.”

    Thanks for the recommendation. The books sounds fun! (We could all use more fun. Just sayin’.)

  6. Charlotte Dixon 05/31/2012 at 09:57 #

    Wow, Heather your comment is like a mini course in pacing!  And yes, I've edited a couple of 600-700 page books that didn't need to be that long.  Another thing I see is writers adding unneeded scenes, as in when two characters are talking about the weather or something mundane.

  7. Heather Jenkins 05/31/2012 at 10:56 #

    So true! If the scene doesn’t move the story along, it needs to go. We don’t even like talking about the weather in our own lives, so reading about it is dreadful! :)

  8. Charlotte Dixon 05/31/2012 at 11:01 #

    I teach my students that scenes need to have a purpose–something needs to happen or it needs to reveal character.  And hopefully each scene will do more than one thing.  I think we talk about the weather to complain about it, and who wants to add more negativity to the world anyway?

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