I picked this up as a light and cute read mostly because I just finished The Forgotten by Elie Weisel (heavy) and because my kids are home from school this first week of summer and I knew I wouldn't be able to concentrate.
Unfortunately, this was not light and cute and entertaining. It was overblown, unbelievable and boring as fuck. I had to crawl through what should have been (300 pages of blather) a 24-48 hour read over an almost 4 day period. At one point I actually looked at my husband and said if I don't finish this book tomorrow I'm gonna scream. I really, really need to be done reading this drivel. So much for light and cute.
Anyway, the premise is interesting enough and one to which I can relate. I live in Madison WI and moved here for grad school. I met a few friends in grad school (but mostly was severely overworked by my advisor), but my friends all moved away after graduating. I did not graduate (dropped out after finishing my MS and course work and prelim but not yet having written the dissertation) and stayed here in town to work from home with my husband and raise our two kids. I have met a few people through the kids but I am for the most part 5-10 years younger than all the parents of my eldest son's peers. I am neither a stay at home or a working mom (and so don't really fit with the gripes of either) and decided myself that I needed friends a few years back. I tried to be proactive about finding them and as a result now have a couple of girls that I do lunch with on a monthly basis (some are better than others). I know about the "stalking potential girl dates" and the awkward first lunches and those that you never call again because it was really just too painful. I know about being the one who always asks the other to lunch and wondering if it is because she is just too busy or not interested. I get all that and so could relate in part to Bertsche's book.
However, ultimately her book is about a woman with a ridiculous social life. She spends WAY too much time hunting for time out with "the girls". I couldn't believe that she was actually a real person...I mean 5-6 nights a week eating dinner out or going to a class or some other activity? And she doesn't mind that then she only sees her husband once a week? And, oh yeah, she is also supposed to spend all this time with her mom and her brother? Bertsche is not a lonely girl (even from the start) she is a social butterfly who can't spend ten minutes alone. When does she do all this reading that she supposedly does (although I wouldn't necessarily call 2 books a month a bibliophile)?
At the beginning she notes that they have plenty of friends and when she and Matt throw a party they pack the house. But, she wants people who are always thinking about her and to whom she can always cry. Really? She cites lots of research about how modern Americans put too much pressure on their marriages (and I did find the light sprinkling of sociological research throughout to be a poor bone to "scientific analysis"), but she never brings up the point that if one never sees their spouse they can hardly improve their marriage. Certainly, spouses each need their own space and their own interests, but she doesn't really ever do anything with hers (isn't he so cute and supportive and patient?? blech), I can't imagine that is the best thing for a relationship.
She is also ridiculously privileged. She grew up in NY, went to fancy high schools and summer camps, and currently gets one pedicure a week (roughly from her comments). She has no concern with budgetary issues (clearly) and apparently no recognition of the fact that her presentation of herself as "everyday American gal" might be quite different from the average middle class chicka.
Overall, I just hated it. I couldn't relate (despite being upper middle class, well educated, bibliophilic, able to laugh at myself, and having embarked on my own search for friends in the last few years) AT ALL and just barely was able to finish it.