Certain Girls – Jennifer Weiner

I wasn’t aware when I first started reading Certain Girls that it’s actually a sequel. The first book, Good in Bed is now on my hit-list, and from what I gather, was critically acclaimed. Unfortunately, at this stage I can’t compare the two so will have to leave that until a later date. However, this book works very well as a standalone novel, hence my not noticing anything amiss when I began reading it.

Certain Girls is the (follow-up) story of Cannie Shapiro, who, many years ago published a book. It was written at a time when she was young, vulnerable and angry – and it all came out in the text. It was a big hit, but unfortunately only with readers, not Cannie’s family and friends. They found it difficult to believe that there was any fiction involved in her writing and that everything in the book was true. It had a detrimental effect on Cannie’s life and she was all too happy to simply forget about it and settle into a quiet life of motherhood.

This book deals with what happens when the book resurfaces in Cannie’s life. Everything seems to be catching up with her, the book, her parents, her teenage daughter… things are just not going well for Cannie. And on top of it all, her husband Peter announces that he would like them to have a baby. Never mind that Cannie had problems whilst giving birth to Joy and had a hysterectomy! Cannie feels like she’s on a downward spiral with no way of knowing where it’s going to end. Joy, meanwhile, thinks her mother is a complete idiot and can’t see why she’s making so much fuss about Joy growing up. After all, according to her mother’s book she wasn’t much older than Joy when she began having sex…

Certain Girls was slow to begin with and I struggled to get into it. However, I persevered and read a book which basically trundles along at a steady pace, has a huge twist in the tale which, for once, I didn’t see coming and then ends in such a way to bring a tear to your eye. It is fairly hard going because it just seems to go on forever, but it’s a nice story which will make you laugh and cry. I’d read more from Weiner, but keep my fingers crossed that the book I choose doesn’t drag on for as long as this one.

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