Monday, February 18, 2008

Friendship, Fun and "Bunko Babes"

Becca is the typical midwestern mama. She’s got her share of tribulations but she’s also got her "bunko babes" to help her get through those tough times. When Becca discovers she has Lupus, you find the other characters reach out to her with love and support.

Sounds like "The Bunko Babes" is a story with great potential, yes? So when I was approached to review the book, I was super excited. I’m a midwestern mom. I've got a fun group of bunko babes too. We have a blast! I was all set to LOVE this book.

But my excitement quickly soured a mere few hundred words into this overly sanitized tale, written by Leah Starr Baker.

Overall, I didn’t find myself becoming more emotionally invested with the turn of each page. (That would be because the characters seemed flat and contrived.) Baker’s writing style is very simplistic and lacks charisma. (There are an overwhelming amount of clichés used on each page. It was not only distracting but very vexing.)

The overall energy of the story feels very forced. By page 10, I had to make myself keep reading. By page 85, I started skimming. And honestly? If you only read the first few pages as well as the last few? Well, it doesn’t take much effort to put the rest of the story together.

I’ve got a very close friend with ALS. Another friend and fellow bunko babe died of cancer this past August. I do have some life experience in how women come together to support and strengthen each other through the monumental as well as mundane. Baker, in my humble opinion, just didn’t capture the essence of how those connections change and grow. She didn't convey how these deeper connections changed the souls of all involved. I find that to be a grave disservice to her characters as well as the reader.

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