Declaring What?

Declaring Spinsterhood by Jamie Lynn BrazielDeclaring Spinsterhood by Jamie Lynn Braziel
Publisher: Independent
Number of pages: 286 pages
My copy: ebook from Amazon Kindle Store

What can you do when your family harps on you to get married (already!), when your delicious and alluring ex-boyfriend—cheater to the core—believes that you’ve fallen for another guy and sets out to woo and conquer (again), and when you suddenly realize that you have fallen in love with your best friend, the guy whose shoulder has always been available…but is presently being enjoyed by another woman? In Jamie Lynn Braziel’s riotous first novel, Declaring Spinsterhood, she explores the world of 30-something single women, the pressures they face to tie the knot, and what happens when that knot begins to feel more like a noose. In the world of Emma Bailey, nothing is sacred. Including, and most especially, marriage.

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So I was aimlessly looking around Amazon one day, looking for books to buy within my monthly book budget. I admit to becoming hooked to Kindle stuff, so when I spotted some $0.99 books, I jumped and got one. After all, it’s only $0.99 — less than Php 50! It’s just like buying an app!

Declaring Spinsterhood sounds like one of those chick lit novels that I see almost everyday when I visit the bookstore. The theme is quite common: woman is getting older and still unmarried, family harps on her and tries to match her to everyone. Then there’s the annoying ex that she still somewhat likes, and then a guy best friend who she ends up falling for…but, oh, he’s in love with someone else. It’s typical, but I know that some authors can make some of these story cliches work for them and even make it seem original.

This one…didn’t work.

Emma Bailey seemed like a promising protagonist, with a wacky cast of characters in the background. However, Emma never felt like someone I could relate to. I wasn’t sure which was really moving here, if it’s the plot or the characters. Most of the time, it feels like the story’s forced to come out. I didn’t see much growth for Emma, nor with any other characters. Brian, the best friend, seemed like someone I’d like, but all the “sleeping-together-but-not-having-sex” thing had me turned off. Maybe I expect more for a guy best friend — a real good guy would have enough sense to just sleep in another bed, even if you’re best friends.

And wait. How can Emma and Brian be really close friends if they only met in six months ago?

It’s not that there weren’t any notable characters though. The so-called villains did get me annoyed. The mother didn’t feel realistic — what mom would banish her daughter from their home because she didn’t want to be married? Steve, the ex, was an annoying jerk, and I figured out the connection between him and Brian’s girlfriend by the second time he mentioned Chicago. I liked Kathy, the best friend, and at least she had enough sense to listen to Emma, but not enough sense to drive something into her, and help her grow.

However, I can’t really blame the author for the somewhat poorly developed plot and characters. The book was written as a NaNoWriMo novel, and from what I read, it is a NaNoWriMo novel. The book was self-published, which may explain the lack of polishing in the story. Maybe another round of edits could have made it better?

Declaring Spinsterhood isn’t exactly bad, but it’s not exactly good, either. Could be better. I’m glad I got it for $0.99 only — else I would be absolutely annoyed at an impulse buy again.

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