I received an advance reading copy of this title, from netgalley.com, in return for an honest review.
Not quite forty, but feeling it, Charlotte is trailing her sixteen year old daughter, Rosie around the shops. Always a few feet behind, as having her Mum walking alongside her would not be cool, Rosie is scouted by a modelling agency in Forever 21. The teenager has visions of trips to Paris fashion week, and large pay packets, before she has even got home. Charlotte is excited for her, but dreads telling her husband. She foresees trouble in the camp.
Charlotte has been happily married for years, and along with Rosie (who's biological dad is not in the picture), has an eleven year old son. Her recently unemployed husband is withdrawn, her son is a highly intelligent character and Rosie is caught between childhood and wanting to be grown up and independent. If all this wasn't bad enough, an email from Charlotte's Ex adds a twist to the tale.
It has been a while since I have read any of Fiona Gibson's work, but she still occupies a lot of shelf space in my library. I have great memories of her column in More! magazine (can I call it a column to avoid discussing it in detail) and even recall her Jackie and Just Seventeen days. Between these magazines and Smash Hits, there are great chunks of my adolescence....Those were the days. No mobile phones, waiting for the landline on the hall table to ring, or a letter to arrive. The free lip- gloss and the pull-out posters. What I loved about the book was how it showed that us, children of the 80s, are all aging together. I also have a sixteen year old and while she doesn't mind shopping with me, she has been known to suggest I put on some make-up before we leave the house. I actually burst out laughing at Charlotte's reaction to the maze that is Forever 21. A vast superstore for young adults, usually set over three or four stories, with staff who have brightly coloured hair and numerous body piercings or tattoos (displayed with over-tanned flat stomachs also on show), who always seem to be looking at the over 35s with pity. I may have even snorted a little when Charlotte buys her son a blue sweatshirt, instead of black one, from Hollister as she couldn't see in the darkness of the shop. I have often thought that shoppers should be issued with mining helmets as they enter the store!
The comedy element remains throughout but less so as the story of Rosie's birth dad surfaces and Charlotte tried to gain some momentum in her marriage. The supporting characters are fantastic, with Charlotte's workmates adding some real zest. I loved her bosses emails to his work force and could almost picture the grimace on Charlotte's face as she opens them. I could go on to mention more great personalities, a great tin foil story and a handful of birdseed, but, hey...... why ruin your enjoyment?
I would definitely recommend this to lovers of women's fiction, mother's of teenage girls and daughter-in-laws who have learned to keep their mouths shut over the years. Who? Moi? Ideal for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jenny Colgan and early Marian Keyes.
As Good As It Gets is published by Avon on 29th Jan 2015 and can pre-ordered in paperback or ebook format...