Review

The Penny Pinchers Club

by Sarah Strohmeyer

Kat Griffiths admits she's bad with money. She blames it on
living in New Jersey, where shopping is the state pastime. While
Kat and her husband Griff are not wealthy, Griff sacrifices to
enable his wife to enjoy a few luxuries. For example, he drives a
beater car so that she can drive a nice Lexus.

Kat enjoys her job as an interior decorator, but she doesn't
enjoy her boss, the nasty and condescending Chloe. She has long
harbored a dream to somehow break away from Chloe and open her own
designing business. But one thing that working for Chloe did for
Kat, 20 years before, was to hook her up with Griff, thereby
causing Kat to fall deeply in love and break off her near
engagement to the wealthy, doting and handsome Liam.

Although Kat infrequently and casually daydreams of the
lifestyle she could be having with her ex, she is actually quite
content and still very much in love with Griff --- until everything
changes in her life, in the form of two condom wrappers discovered
in Griff's pocket after he has taken a business trip to San
Francisco with his young, lovely assistant, Bree. Kat is in total
denial that the discovery means what it seems to mean, but then she
happens upon discriminating emails between Griff and Bree, which
lead her to the conclusion that her seemingly happy marriage is
just a sham. Griff and Bree appear to have plans to wait until Kat
and Griff's daughter, Laura, graduates from high school. Then Griff
will divorce Kat. But Kat is determined to divorce him first, a
goal that is intensified when she discovers he has a secret credit
card, to which he charged a humongous bill at a ritzy
restaurant.

Meanwhile, Kat's housekeeper Libby finally persuades her to
attend a meeting of The Penny Pinchers Club, a group that is
dedicated to frugality. When Kat admits her problems to the penny
pinchers, they gear up to help her. The first stop is Kat's home
where they not only audit her house (exclaiming in disgust over her
multiple televisions and other luxuries) but delve into her and
Griff's finances, of which Kat has remained blissfully ignorant.
She is aghast to discover she not only needs to somehow save money
for her expensive divorce lawyer, but she and Griff have
accumulated $37,000 in consumer debt. She determines to pay off
their debt before divorcing her husband.

Even as Kat scrimps and saves, finding a surprising satisfaction
in her new frugality, she's puzzled to realize that her marriage
seems even more rock-solid, loving and pleasing than ever. What is
going on? Is Griff that much of an actor? Then who should drop into
Kat's ever-more complicated life than Liam, who is on his way to
his own divorce and appears to be determined to improve Kat's life
and possibly become her next romantic partner.

Although enjoyable from the beginning, thanks to Kat's sassy
voice, the story really picks up when Kat decides to take her
financial reins in her own hands. The often hilarious and energetic
THE PENNY PINCHERS CLUB resembles a zany madcap film comedy from
the '40s but also has a meaningful message. The subject of credit
debt is a timely and relatable subject; author Sarah Strohmeyer
manages to make Kat's tale realistic yet upbeat and enjoyable as
she discovers the true value in life. Although readers may suss out
early on how Kat's love life will culminate, they are likely to
continue to relish every bit of her story. They will enjoy a
genuine sweetness in the romantic subplot, as well as a general
good-natured, big-hearted atmosphere to the book that is impossible
to resist.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon (terryms2001@yahoo.com) on January 17, 2011

The Penny Pinchers Club
by Sarah Strohmeyer

  • Publication Date: July 6, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade
  • ISBN-10: 0451230027
  • ISBN-13: 9780451230027