PUSHING 30 is the story of Ellie Winters, who is approaching her
30th birthday. She is panicked slightly at the thought of turning
30 and being single although not panicked enough to marry someone
she doesn't truly love.
The story opens with Ellie promising herself to break up with Eric,
her current boyfriend when they meet for drinks in a crowded bar.
Eric is nice enough, like all of Ellie's past boyfriends, but he
does not strike Ellie as exciting enough to be her soul mate. Eric,
of course, has other ideas for this evening --- and proposes
marriage, which sets up an early cue of how Ellie's life is moving.
It's going exactly in the direction she does not want. Ellie
proceeds with the breakup, showing readers that she has a decent
moral code though the pressure of "pushing 30" is upon her.
Life deals her a new hand one night as she rushes to the local
drugstore to remedy a haircoloring disaster, and she meets Ted
Langston, a handsome news anchor. The two hit it off and begin
dating --- even though he is twice her age and continuously
questions why they should be dating as if there was something wrong
with their age difference.
Ellie has a few more problems to deal with. She is a litigation
lawyer who is less than enamored with the idea of being an
attorney. She pursued this career to make her father, a judge,
happy. She also is dealing with a viperous co-worker at her law
firm who has her own plans for Ellie.
The rest of Ellie's family is also a source of frustration --- her
mother is going through a "crazed Martha Stewart" phase and both of
her brothers have marriages that fall apart at a time when she is
looking for a relationship to come together. And her best friend
Nina is not supplying the kind of "girlfriend support" that every
single girl needs.
Not to be overlooked as an "issue" is Ted's ex-wife, who at every
turn feels a need to show Ellie just what a "child" she is compared
to Ted. With obstacles like this, can Ellie help but shriek at the
thought of turning 30?
Gaskell's humorous writing moves the story along quickly. Sweet and
non-confrontational Ellie conquers every hurdle hurled her way with
great pluck and style. Speaking of sweet, Ellie's soft side is
revealed in the way she spoils her pug, Sally. And the relationship
between Sally and Ted's dog also will give readers some good
Friends weigh in about Ellie and Ted's relationship and their
"advice" helps the couple realize that their ups and downs are not
framed by their age difference, but rather by the natural rhythm of
any romance. In the end, Ellie ends up with the perfect birthday
The pressure Ellie feels to get married, settle down, and become a
successful career woman is realistically portrayed. Readers
definitely will be able to relate to PUSHING 30. Witty and
fast-paced, it's great Chick Lit.
Reviewed by Melissa A. Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org) on January 23, 2011