Thursday, August 27, 2015

Blogger 2 Blogger Book Club: Ladies Night by Mary Kay Andrews

I know I say this pretty much every month, but every month I have the best intentions of getting this post done on time.  For June I was convinced it was going to be on time because by mid-month I had finished the book.  Then as usual work got in the way of blogging and I totally forgot to write the post. (*Note: I know this is August, but this post has sat almost finished for like 2 months now. I still have the July post as well as the August post to go... I am such a slacker!!)

So for the month of June, the Blogger 2 Blogger Book Club read Ladies Night by Mary Kay Andrews.  I had seen a lot of bloggers talking about Mary Kay Andrews so I was really looking forward to reading this book and seeing what she was all about.  Let me just say, this book did NOT disappoint... I think this might be my favorite book that we have read so far with the #Blog2BlogBC!!  Thanks to Kelly over at Love, Kelly Lorene for hosting such an amazing Blogger Book Club (and for putting up with delinquents like myself who are almost always late to the party).

Ladies Night tells the story of Grace and how she turns her life around after finding her husband Ben cheating on her with her assistant.  When Grace first finds out that Ben is cheating she completely loses her mind and does some things that were very out of character for her.  In retaliation, Ben, who was not only her husband but also her business manager, locks Grace out of her former life.  Grace no longer has access to her blog GraceNotes, which was her livelihood.  She no longer has access to her home, her clothes, or anything related to her previous life.

While going through their divorce, Grace is required to see a divorce counselor, Paula, who doesn't seem to help Grace, but does introduce her to a great group of women... and a man.  The group bonds after Paula passes out during one of their sessions and they all decide to go to Grace's mom's bar in order to discuss their lives and to figure out what was going on with their counselor.  While getting together at the bar the group forms an unlikely band of friends determined to divorce (for the most part) and get their lives back.

Besides meeting with her divorce group, Grace finds a small house to restore to help get her own life back on track.  She uses the restoration of the house as the basis for her new blog TrueGrace.  While restoring the house Grace faces many ups and downs, but she doesn't let that get to her... she is determined to make something of her life without Ben.  While fixing up the house takes up a lot of her time, Grace also starts to "date" Wyatt, another member of her divorce group. Wyatt and Grace both seem to just want someone to love and support them and it is fantastic to see their relationship blossom throughout the book.

I really enjoyed reading this book because it shows the journey of a woman who believes she has hit rock bottom and what she does to try to pick herself up again. As I have said time and time again when I do these book reviews I love a strong female protagonist and I definitely think that the character of Grace can show women that no matter how bad life seems after divorce you can always pick yourself up, dust yourself off and find a way to move on... and sometimes even move on to something bigger and better!

Now for the #Blog2BlogBC Portion of this post.  This is where I answer a few questions (3-5 according to the book club rules) about Ladies Night.

one// Why do you think it was so important for Grace to renovate the little beach house? How did it parallel the renovation of Grace's life?

I think that Grace renovating the beach house was the first step for her getting her life back on track.  Her blog had always been a source of DIY and decorating projects, yet moving home with her mom didn't leave her the room to be able to do those things anymore.  By being able to start fresh with the little beach house it signified Grace getting her life back on track.  It also gave Grace an outlet for all of her frustrations... instead of being miserable and reflecting on all that Ben had done to her, she started out to create something new and beautiful for herself even if she did not know it at the time.

two// Why do you think the Stackpoles of the world can get away with so much?

Having worked in the world of the legal system this question to me is a no-brainer.  The Stakepoles of the world can get away with so much because people don't want to believe that they are doing anything wrong.  Judges are charged with the task of upholding the law, so it is almost unfathomable that they would be doing anything that could constitute breaking the law.  In today's world we know that this isn't the case as people in these positions are sometimes found to be doing things that are unconscionable, but we just don't ever want to believe that these things happen.  When people suspect that some wrongdoing is going on they tend to look the other way, again because someone like a judge should not be involved in any lawbreaking behavior.  Knowing this means that some judges can and will try to see what they can get away with because they know that they are "invincible" or at least they think they are.  Now this is not to say that all judges are like this because in my time I have met so many amazing judges who would never even dream of doing what Judge Stackpole did in Ladies Night, but I as much as I don't want to believe it, I am sure there are some judges who would.

three// If you could have four people (living or dead) at your weekly "Ladies Night" who would they be? What would you serve and what would you talk about?

Well the what would you serve and what would you talk about portion of this question is obvious... I would be serving wine... lots and lots of wine. As to what we would be talking about... that would be pretty much everything.  I actually used to have a "Girls Night" every Wednesday with the first group of girl friends I made when I moved to the Philly suburbs... we would get together with a few bottles of wine, usually make some sort of dinner together (or at least we had snacks... Chex mix in particular... right ladies?!) and then we would just talk about our lives.

Picking just five people to be at this "Ladies Night" is definitely difficult because there are so many ladies I would like to include.  But if distance were not a factor the five people I would definitely include would be
one// My Mom... though Mom and I may not always get along and may at times have differences of opinions I know that I can always count on her.  I know that she will always be there to offer me advice... even if it isn't the advice that I want to hear.  We would need someone a little oldeer and wiser at "Ladies Night" because we need someone to help guide us and teach us from her mistakes (though I know my mother is pretty much perfect and doesn't make mistakes like ever).  As the "youngins" we would be able to help give her a fresh perspective on things and maybe even return to her some of the advice that she has given all of us over the years.
two// AW... she has been my best friend since first grade and no matter how long we go without talking to or seeing each other we both know we can always count on each other for anything.  She is another person who will not hesitate to tell me how she is feeling and is someone that I trust with everything.  AW is also one to always listen and reserve judgment until the end.  That is something important that you need in a "Ladies Night" group because we are all sometimes quick to rush to judgment, but AW, she won't do that.
three// CW... this girl is the girl that besides the fact we talk about pretty much everything together... no topic is off limits... no matter how gross it might be...this is the girl you can always count on to give a logical explanation for something.  While she does also think with her emotions, she is definitely the one who uses logic more often to come to a rational decision.  She isn't afraid to tell me when I am being ridiculous and I don't think she is afraid to tell anyone else when they are being ridiculous either. Having someone who thinks logically almost all the time is definitely necessary for "Ladies Night"
four// AV... this is the one friend who I know will ALWAYS tell it how it is.  She won't sugarcoat anything and will say exactly what she is thinking... even if you really don't want to hear it.  Although she will always tell it how it is, AV is also always good for helping to offer up a solution and will move water and earth to help her closest friends.  Every "Ladies Night" needs that one person who isn't going to beat around the bush and is just going to tell it how it is.

four// How do you think a group of friends can help in tough times? How does a group sometimes offer support in a way that one close friend cannot?

A group of friends can definitely help in tough times because each friend brings something different to the group.  Each person offers their own unique perspective to whatever the situation is and having all those different perspectives can definitely help you get through tough times.  Also, sometimes having just one person to lean on for support can be emotionally draining to both people whereas having a group of people for a support system helps lessen the burden for everyone.

Have you read anything good recently? Care to share?