Someone Like You
Cathy Kelly is a well-known author in Ireland and the UK who makes her American fiction debut with SOMEONE LIKE YOU, the story of three women who meet while on a travel junket to Egypt. We learn immediately that each of them is at a pivotal point in her life, assessing who she is, where she is going and trying to figure out how she will get there. They buddy-up on the tour, share their private concerns and promise to remain friends after they return to their homes in Ireland.
At each of their monthly meetings they offer support, humor, perspective, and female bonhomie to each other. In alternating vignettes, we learn about their lives, loves, dreams, expectations, and everyday struggles. Sometimes they act like teenage girls giggling over men and sex and clothes, while at other times they agonize over injustices they perceive women suffer at the hands of feckless or brutish males.
Hannah (the self possessed) is the enigmatic independent woman. After being dumped by her lover of 10 years, she vowed never to get romantically or financially involved with any particular man ever again. After a year on her own she has transformed herself into a self-taught professional who keeps a tight lip on her personal life and ascribes to the theory that you can't be too thin or well dressed. She still enjoys sex and is not averse to an occasional romp with the type of buff younger man she meets at the gym.
Emma (the ingénue) is a shy, self-effacing innocent married to her prince charming. All she yearns for is a baby to complete her self-perceived "fairy tale" life. But after three years of not conceiving, she begins to withdraw into a silent agony of self-doubt, shame, and guilt. Her overbearing parents, especially her bully of a father, have taught her that she is wanting in every way, and she believes her inability to conceive has proved their judgments true.
Leonie is the divorced (earth) mother of three teenagers rounding out the group. She is a "big" woman, overweight and prone to hiding her insecurities under too much make-up and outlandish clothes. She is the romantic of the trio who is forever convinced that her "true love" is waiting for her around the next corner. All she really wants is to meet the "perfect man" with whom she can live a blissful life.
We are charmed by these women as they boldly "get on with it," charging ahead in their separate worlds. Ms. Kelly has limned her characters in a way that makes them appear 3-dimensional and very real. She has fleshed them out, juxtaposing their contemporary, individual lives against some old fashioned, romantic notions concerning issues about life, relationships with men, and friendships between women.
But, while readers are drawn into the soap opera storyline, the novel often gets bogged down. We care about these women but we don't need to know every time they change their clothes or have a hangover. Nevertheless, if you enjoy a romantic saga and are in the mood for a warm and fuzzy vacation read, SOMEONE LIKE YOU is sure to be entertaining.
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on May 28, 2002
Someone Like You
- Publication Date: May 28, 2002
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Plume
- ISBN-10: 0452283388
- ISBN-13: 9780452283381