Aussie Author Challenge Book Reviews

Book Review: Love and Punishment

…by Wendy Harmer.

Francie McKenzie is a 32 year old Melburnian who works for the Daily Press and responds to letters sent to the Seriously Single column. However, currently, Francie herself is enduring a seriously single moment following her sudden break-up from Nick after a 5 year long relationship. What hurts more is that Nick has left her for an older woman. The kick in the guts is that she’s 11 years older to Francie and is an actress: Poppy Somerville-Smith. As Francie grapples with the loss of her relationship, she moves into a share-house with three other singles in their 30s too: Jessie, a comedienne, Robbie, gay and currently celibate, and Dave, a hunk and a half. However, Francie is still not over Nick. And she has done something her close friends Olga, Amanda, and Johnno are not going to be proud of. Francie faces a roller-coaster journey of whirlwind emotions as she tries to come to terms with her single status, attend therapy on a weekly basis, tries to understand her own family better, yearns to have Nick back and puts her job in jeopardy. All in the space of a few months.

Let me tell you why I picked up this book: I realised the year was almost ending and I still had to complete my Aussie Author Challenge. Plus I wanted a break from emotionally draining and cognitively draining books. After reading this, I yearn to go back to my emotionally and cognitively draining books!

I am not the biggest fan of chick-lit but can read a few to switch off my mind. However, in this book, the protagonist is just bloody annoying. Francie did not evoke even a sliver of empathy or sympathy from me. Her whining and crying made me want to slap her. Not because I’m hard hearted. But because, 6 months after a relationship that has apparently been dying for 12 months prior, there is a limit to how much you can grieve. Yes, break-ups suck. Been there, done that. True, I haven’t been cheated on (yet). But still. I was so glad when one of her friends finally loses it with her because it’s what I’d been wanting to do the entire time. The other thing I found myself wondering was where are these 30-something singles living together and enjoying life? Because in the Australia I know, most people even in their late twenties and thirties are still living at home. There were a few moments in the book that brought a smile to my face but on the whole, it wasn’t too good for me. I just shook my head sceptically majority of the time. To the point where I’m surprised I actually got through the whole thing.

My rating:


***This was reviewed as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2012***

Until next time,


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