Wallflower in Bloom
Deirdre Griffin's brother, Tag, is a famous New Age guru (Deirdre describes him as "Deepak Chopra meets Bono") whose "tagline" is "Do. You. Have. Passion?" Unfortunately, Deirdre doesn't have passion. Her job as personal assistant to Tag is wearying and soul-sucking. She lives in a quirkily charming converted sheep barn, but Tag owns it and will not sell it to her. In addition, she's been in an on-again/off-again, no-future relationship that is currently in an "off" phase.
"This is a delightfully quirky and off-kilter story that is the epitome of the perfect beach read (or for escaping into while snuggled in front of a roaring fireplace, or any other reading situation one can imagine)."
Tag's latest event is in Austin. As usual, Deirdre is there, along with her mother and father, aging hippies who are part of Tag's usual entourage. After the event, she is shocked to have Tag introduce her to Steve --- the stranger who had walked into her motel room the night before only to spy Deirdre in her sad old stretched-out underpants, courtesy of a motel clerk's mistake. After this strange man had entered her room and backed out apologetically, the two of them found themselves in the elevator headed down to the desk to straighten things out. That's when Deirdre noticed that he was very nice-looking. She was chagrined that someone who is just her type had viewed her "peanut-M&M's-and-turkey-sandwich-bloated body in ancient ripped underwear." She was just relieved that she would never have to see him again…and now, here he is, being introduced to her. Great.
Steve Moretti turns out to be an old college friend of Tag's. He is an urban landscape designer and in Austin to check out a potential job. He wants to view the gardens at a local resort. Before Deirdre knows what's happening, she is in a rented minivan wedged between two of Tag's groupies while Steve and Tag catch up. At the resort gardens, Deirdre wanders beneath a full moon to the edge of a lake where she bumps into Steve. Sparks fly, until Tag interrupts in the rudest manner possible. Deirdre finds his behavior so intolerable that she quits her job on the spot. She flies home, where she runs into her intermittent boyfriend Mitchell, who gives her such devastating news that she is spurred to drastic action. Afterward, Deirdre finds comfort in a Ben & Jerry's Caramel Chunk milkshake, heavy on the vodka.
She turns on her laptop and sees headlines that remind her of how much she has always loved to dance. It seems that a celebrity dancer scheduled to be on “Dancing with the Stars” has instead gone into rehab. The television show is letting viewers vote on who should replace her. Deirdre's vodka-fueled imagination comes up with a creative (if drunken) plan that could possibly glean her enough votes to win a place on the program --- a plan she is bound to regret eventually.
Claire Cook gives us a witty, down-to-earth and likable main character readers will root for. As Deirdre faces an almost insurmountable physical challenge, she also must confront family and self-acceptance issues. This is a delightfully quirky and off-kilter story that is the epitome of the perfect beach read (or for escaping into while snuggled in front of a roaring fireplace, or any other reading situation one can imagine). Cook has a true gift for writing humorous situations, as well as delving into emotionally affecting situations with a light touch, making WALLFLOWER IN BLOOM a very enjoyable and satisfying read.
P.S.: If you happen to be a “Dancing with the Stars” fan, this is a must-read!
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on June 8, 2012
Wallflower in Bloom
- Publication Date: May 21, 2013
- Genres: Fiction
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Touchstone
- ISBN-10: 1451672772
- ISBN-13: 9781451672770