I might be described as a novel addict. I chant to myself that “the library is an extension of my bookshelf” so I won’t keep buying dozens of books. I have found that in addition to fantasy and mystery, I really love Chick Lit, or women-centered books. There are obviously good books, not-so-good books, and books not worth finishing in all of the categories. Late Night Talking: A Novel by Leslie Schnur falls into the good category!
Late Night Talking is a novel that centers on a the host of a Late Night call-in show. Jeannie keeps telling herself (and her father) that she leads a happy life, but working in the middle of the night, rarely dating, and rarely seeing anyone except for her co-workers belies her claims.
I know I’ve said before that my step-dad works in radio – we always ate dinner between 7pm and 8pm (and still do!) because his shift usually ended at at 7pm. Then there were the days when he was asked to cover for the morning folks when they went on vacation – he’d leave the house when it was still dark, and he’d sleep while we were still at school. Now he works until 8pm most of the time, so weekday evening engagements just don’t happen. However, it does mean that if I drop my kids off at 10am for a few hours, they get to see their Vovo for a couple hours before he goes to work.
Anyhow, that lovely little tangent was my way of saying, “I’ve never worked in radio, but I know quite a bit about how it works and about the crappiness of many radio host schedules.” Late Night Talking showed the reality of the crappiness of the Late Night talk show host (the only one I knew who was happy with his lot had his apartment set up as a studio and he managed to work from home), as well as the jealousy of the people with good schedules (morning drive time is prime). The behind-the-scenes radio stuff also seemed realistic, and it would have really bugged me if it wasn’t realistic. Jeannie is jealous of the morning drive time host and knows her show (”Sterling Behavior” – discussing bad behavior and ethics in NYC) would get even better ratings if it were on during that time slot.
Leslie Schnur has created characters with real depth – you cheer for them, squirm for them, and sniffle for them. There are twists and turns – none of the characters are perfect, and none readily admit their imperfections. It was a book that reminded me about what faults you can live with, and which ones you can’t, and how that affects dating/marriage. This is a conversation I had with both of my parents as a teen (”never marry anyone expecting to change them!”), and now it’s a regular topic with friends. It’s interesting to see which faults are deal-breakers for which people – and which of those aren’t even on another’s radar. As much as I had to laugh at the title of Jeannie Sterling’s show (”Sterling Behavior”), that part of the book fascinated me. I hate call-in talk shows, and never listen to them. But the idea of what is ethical and what is bad behavior is so different between people that the show excerpts were very interesting. (side note – I never discuss names of my family without their permission, but I guess I can say that before I was married, my middle name was the same as Jeannie’s last name, and that was because it was my father’s first name. Hence the amusement at the show title.)
Since this falls into the “chick lit” genre, you know there is likely to be a happy ending – but there are plenty of low points, as well as twists and turns along the way! There are moments that leave you wanting to smack the main character, and moments when you want to hug her – just like she was a real friend. This is a book that didn’t tie everything up neatly with a cute epilogue. You feel as if the characters are going on with their lives now and you’ll hear from them again. I hope we do, too I really liked the book and the characters.
This is being cross-posted on my main blog. I received this book for free to review for the MotherTalk book tour. I love free books, but I give reviews based on what I think about the book, not if it is free or not!
If you’d like to win a copy of Late Night Talking, as well as two chick lit books by Melanie Murray (Good Times, Bad Boys: Friends don’t let friends date musicians and Miss Bubbles Steals The Show), leave me a comment with the most recent chick lit book you enjoyed. I’ll get one of the girls to draw one name out of a hat. I’m fine shipping within the US or to Canada – no shipping books to Oz or the Emerald Isle, sorry!