Thursday, August 6, 2020

How Lulu Lost Her Mind - Rachel Gibson

Rachel Gibson is a prolific, New York Times bestselling author. Her latest novel is How Lulu Lost Her Mind.

Lou Ann has built her business from the ground up. Professionally she is known as Lulu The Love Guru - sex, love and relationship advice is her forte. She's on her way to start a new tour when she gets a call from her mother's Alzheimer nursing home. Patricia is being asked (well told) to leave the home due to her behavior. And just like that Patricia is living with Lou Ann. And the tour is on hold. The one thing that Patricia wants is to visit her family home, Sutton Hall, in Louisiana. And Lou Ann wants to give her mother that last wish.

I liked the premise - honoring the wishes of someone who is losing their memories. Patricia is a real character with five marriages under her belt. She loves men and is a real flirt. I really liked her - she's true to herself and has lived her life exactly as she wanted to. Having family members with Alzheimer Disease, I could appreciate this character and her behaviour, dialogue and moods. I would be curious to know if Gibson has had this in her life personally. Every experience is different, but I found some of Patricia's actions and abilities beyond what I would expect.

Now, I loved Patricia, but I was only lukewarm towards Lou Ann. She is the lead, but everything seems to be about her, despite the move being for her mom. The heat, the house, the town, the stores, the workmen and more all rub her the wrong way. I know Gibson was going for humor with much of it, but a lot of it just fell flat for me.

There's a romance here as well - hunky contractor. I liked him and his southern charm and wisdom, but never bought into his attraction to Lulu.

Mother/daughter relationships are a big part of the book. And those parts I really liked. But the title How Lulu Lost Her Mind just reinforced my dislike for her. Why Lulu is the one losing her mind when it is her mom who is literally losing hers? The behaviour she can't help? Maybe. There were lots of other plot lines that seemed extraneous - the 'mystery' of Patricia's father and uncle. Gibson uses lots of description - it grew tiresome to hear every last detail.

I listened to How Lulu Lost Her Mind. The reader was Stephanie Einstein and she was really good. The voice she uses for Lou Ann is perfect for the mental image I created for this character - somewhat entitled, exasperated a lot of the time and judgemental. There are moments when she remembers her childhood and what is happening in the present and a softer, kinder voice is used. Einstein had a good voice for Patricia - believable and suitable. Einstein's voice is clear, easy to understand and definitely engaged. Hear for yourself - listen to an audio excerpt of How Lulu Lost Her Mind.

I may be in the minority on this one. Other readers loved it - check out the reviews on Goodreads.

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