Synopsis: Meet Tasha – single and still searching. A producer for Britain's most popular morning television show working under a nightmare boss, Tasha is well versed in the trials and tribulations of twenty-first-century dating. She and her three best friends certainly haven't lived the fairy tale they thought they would: there's Andy, who's hooked on passion, but too much of a tomboy to have moved much beyond the beer-drinking-contest stage; Mel, stuck in a steady but loveless relationship; and Emma, endlessly waiting for her other half to propose. Their love lives are only complicated by the sort of men who seem to drift in and out: Andrew – suave, good-looking, and head over heels in love...with himself; Simon – who is allergic to commitment, but has a bad-boy nature that's impossible to resist; and Adam – perfectly attractive, but too sweet to be sexy.
The bestselling first novel that launched Jane Green, one of the brightest stars in contemporary women's fiction, STRAIGHT TALKING sets the record straight regarding the real world of dating, and follows the adventurers of Tash and her friends as they search for fulfillment and the right kind of love. Funny, flirty, and ultimately tender, STRAIGHT TALKING gets at the heart of modern romance.
First line: I was never supposed to be single at thirty years old.
Stats for my copy: Trade paperback, published by Broadway Books, a division of Random House, Inc., 2003; received from a member of BookCrossing.
My thoughts: That mention on the cover blurb of this being Jane Green's “first novel” confused me, as I thought there were a couple of books before this one, but if I've figured it out correctly, this is the first one she wrote, but not the first one published in the US. Though I could be wrong, so don't quote me on that! .
Tasha, the heroine of the story, who also narrates directly to us, the readers, is a very messed up woman who's definition of the perfect relationship is skewed. She goes from one hot passionate relationship to the next, never understanding why it all goes belly up. Her most recent serious relationship was with Simon, who she still desperately misses and wants back. Fortunately, she's in therapy, trying to learn to deal with her issues. In the meantime, she shares with us her life.
Tasha is the type of woman often commonly referred to as a slut. In sharing her story with us, she holds nothing back, letting us in on every wrong turn and mistake she makes with these wrong men. Tasha is crude, often rude, a bit egotistical about her looks and how attractive men find her - men who are arrogant, sexy, and use women like tissue. But like many women who have those traits, underneath it all is a girl with very low self-esteem who doesn't trust anyone and expects to get dumped on. Even when a nice man likes her, she can't give him the time of day if she doesn't feel turned on just being in his presence. She is the very definition of looking for love in all the wrong places. But she is also self-aware, admitting to us these very same faults. She doesn't know how to act differently and so she keeps repeating the same pattern.
Simon is the one who got away. Andrew is the one who she wants to be with next. And Adam is the best friend, who she can talk to about anything and who listens to her complain about the other guys and is always there for her, but who she would never think of in a romantic way. I think we've all had an Adam in our life.
At times Tasha's story made me want to cringe. I wanted to hit her upside the head and tell her to freaking get it together and quit being a whiny baby and grow the hell up. And when she made her biggest mistake, I was furious with her. But I liked her so I always forgave her and hoped she'd do better.
I think this might be my favorite Jane Green book so far.
I've been a fan of Jane Green since the first book of hers I read back in 2004. So looking back over my past reads, I was surprised to find that I'd only read six of her books! But I do have five others in my TBR pile, waiting to be enjoyed. I was not blogging yet when I read the other books, but I did make Journal Entries about them on BookCrossing, so I thought I'd share those now:
MR. MAYBE -- Oh my gosh, I've found a new favorite author! I absolutely loved this book, and I was pretty satisfied with the ending, even though I pretty much saw it coming! I enjoyed following Libby through her trials and watching her grow as a person along the way, but with plenty of humour as well! I wish her brother had been more involved in the story though! (7/19/04)
JEMIMA J -- I enjoyed it, but not as much as Mr. Maybe. At first it was a little disconcerting the way the narration bounced back and forth between first person and third person (sometimes twice on the same page!), and throughout the entire book I felt that the third person narrator was condescending. And it was a little "quaint" to read about how excited Jemima and Ben were about their office finally getting internet access and discovering the joys of the web! But at the end of the book I was still glued to the pages! I have definitely become a fan of Jane Green! (10/15/04)
THE OTHER WOMAN -- After reading Mr. Maybe, I wrote a letter to Jane Green back in July 2004, to tell her how much I enjoyed her books. Well, on March 21, 2005, I received a package via UPS with a letter from the publisher:
"Thank you for your letter to Jane Green. I have passed it along to her and I am sure that she will appreciate your kind words. Enclosed please find a copy of Jane's new novel THE OTHER WOMAN. I hope that you enjoy it." It was signed by the assistant to the president of Viking Plume, a Division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.
I really enjoy Jane Green, although not quite as much as Marian Keyes. Or maybe just differently from Keyes, but they are my two favorite "chick lit" authors.
Anyway, this one is about a woman who falls in love, marries and has a baby. Marrying her husband includes gaining an instant family of in-laws, which at first seems wonderful as Ellie grew up an only child with no mother and a distant father. But soon her mother-in-law is smothering her and trying to run her entire life. A humourous book, but dealing with some serious issues as well, and with a pretty satisfying ending. (8/11/05)
BABYVILLE -- I found it very enjoyable, and liked the different viewpoints as each woman's story unfolded. I kind of feel like I've been in each woman's position at some point! Jane Green never fails to satisfy. (11/20/06)
BOOKENDS -- As usual, Jane Green always pleases me. I noticed that a lot of readers thought this one was a little hard to get into, but I didn't have that problem. I was a little shaken at the suddenly serious turn of events, but was then very happy with the ending. (4/1/07)
LIFE SWAP -- I loved this book. I was a little surprised at how long the book went on before the actual swap happened, but I didn't really mind as I enjoyed reading about both Vicki's and Amber's lives. The fact that the swap section seemed shorter also seemed very realistic to me from what I'd read. But I really would have liked to find out what happened later with Vicki and how her life turned out!
I also thought that the writing style seemed a little different from previous Jane Green books I've read, but it very much suited the story. (6/26/09)