I reviewed Liza Palmer's previous book A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents a few years ago and really enjoyed it. (review can be found here) So, I was quite looking forward to reading her latest book More Like Her (releases today)
From the cover, I was expecting a 'chick lit' type of read, but the opening prologue is a 911 call detailing a shooting at the Markham School. We then meet Frannie in the opening chapter. She's a teacher at the Markham School. She's also just come through a nasty breakup with her boyfriend, also a teacher at the school. We're introduced to Jill and Lisa, Frannie's sidekicks. Palmer provides lots of light hearted banter and situations to open the novel. But underneath it all is Frannie's desire to be what's she's not, to have what she doesn't. Just like Emma, the new director of the school, who seems to have it all. Frannie laments..."I'm not the girl men choose."But it turns out that Emma's life is not all that perfect.
Palmer explores lots of areas in More Like Her - bullying, domestic abuse, marriage and self searching. As Frannie puts it - the search for the Real Me.
I enjoyed the interaction between the main characters (although I thought Lisa became a 'bestie' awfully quick) Funnily enough, the character I enjoyed the most was Sam - the object of Frannie's desire. I found Frannie to be a bit exhausting. You might know her - she's the one who has to slice, dice and dissect every last situation and detail, wringing nuance from inflections, tones and glances and discussing them over and over again. I enjoyed Frannie's introspective look at finding her real self, but found myself growing tired of the repetition. I wish there had been more focus on Emma and her situation.
Those looking for a traditional chick lit book won't find it here. But, those looking for a contemporary women's fiction read that explores the green grass on the other side of fence will. Read an excerpt of More Like Her.
Liza Palmer is the author of the international bestsellerConversations with the Fat Girl, as well as Seeing Me Naked and A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and is hard at work on her next novel in addition to several film and television projects.