Title: Life Drawing for Beginners
Author: Roisin Meaney
Published: Hachette Book Group,Inc; August 2012
Genre: Fiction, Chick-Lit
"From the author of Semi-Sweet comes a delightful new novel about the art of friendship, love, and (still) life. When Audrey Matthews offers an evening class in life drawing, all she's looking for is a little extra pocket money and something to fill her Tuesday nights. So she hires a model and recruits five students - each of whom have their own reason for being there. For Zarek, a Polish immigrant, the class is a welcome distraction and a place to escape his dull cafe job and noisy roommate. Then there's the handsome, mysterious James who has moved to the small town of Carrickbawn looking for a new start for himself and his daughter. He's vowed to keep to himself, but then his interest in Jackie, the class model and single mom, takes a more personal turn. While Audrey has just fallen in love -- with the adorable puppy in the window of the local pet shop. Will she be put off by the store's brusque owner or does she find out that his bark is worse than his bite? As the weeks pass, it becomes clear to the members of the drawing class that their fellow students aren't exactly who they seem..."
I put this book on my TBR list because I saw a goodreads giveaway for it who knows when. I was really attracted by the title and cover. I thought this would be a fun romantic comedy and a quick and easy light read. I really expected some girl-meets-boy and they fall in love with a good sprinkling of quirky side characters. Jacket blurbs are obviously not a criteria in picking out a book. I'm shallow and judge books by their covers. This was more of a general relationship novel.
The story telling shifts from Audrey to each of her class members and a few others. Even though the characters are strangers to each other, they have connections outside of class through family and friends. Kind of like the story lines in Love, Actually are all connected. Some of these connections were apparent right away and others didn't reveal themselves until almost the end of the book.
I enjoyed this book. Sometimes I had to remind myself that things weren't happening as quickly as the timeline my brain had. The story stretched out over six weeks. I liked seeing the relationships develop and characters find their footing in the world. I even questioned the tough decisions one character made about his son and wondered what I would do in the same situation.
Sometimes the story lagged but I mostly enjoyed the book. I wanted to find out what secrets certain characters were keeping and that kept me reading to the end. Meaney was able to bring a human side to the more despicable characters and make them likeable. As for my final verdict, I was charmed by the characters. I would probably only recommend this to bookworms and not the casual reader. But who knows, my husband never picks up a book and really enjoyed The Count of Monte Cristo. So tell everyone to read it. They just may like it.