How To Change A Life
by Stacey Ballis
Why did you choose this book? It was already on my shelf and it looked interesting
When did you read this book? January 2018
Who should read this book? Readers of ‘foodie’ fiction
Source: This just showed up in my mailbox one day
My Rating: ✰✰½ 2½ Stars
Here is a synopsis of How To Change A Life from Goodreads
A dare between friends leads to startling revelations and simmering tensions in the latest novel from the author of Wedding Girl.
Eloise is happy with her life as a successful private chef. She has her clients, her corgi, and a recipe for the world's most perfect chocolate cream pie. What more could she need? But when her long-lost trio of high school friends reunites, Eloise realizes how lonely she really is.
Eloise, Lynne, and Teresa revamp their senior-class assignment and dare one another to create a list of things to accomplish by the time they each turn forty in a few months. Control freak Lynne has to get a dog, Teresa has to spice up her marriage, and Eloise has to start dating again.
Enter Shawn, a hunky ex-athlete and the first man Eloise could see herself falling for. Suddenly forty doesn't seem so lonely--until a chance encounter threatens the budding romance and reveals the true colors of her friends. Will the bucket listers make it to forty still speaking to one another? Or do some friendships come with an expiration date?
This one just showed up in my mailbox one day — I’m not sure why. I may have entered a contest on a blog or book site, but I don’t remember doing so. In any event, I like the cover and the synopsis sounded interesting. I also have a goal to read more books that I already have sitting on my shelves, so during the recent weather that was too cold to go outside, I picked it up.
This is a quick, light read, but is not a book normally I’d pick up, simply because I don’t usually enjoy ‘foodie’ novels. Reading about food preparations just doesn’t interest me. This book was the exception! In fact, I will say that for me the descriptions of the food prepared and eaten were the highlight of the book. On the negative side, however, it really made me feel that I am missing out by not having a personal chef!
Sadly, the book went downhill for me from there. While the story was light with a close to happily ever after ending, there were some major issues for me. First, the synopsis made me feel that I was going to get a ‘friends’ story. While three friends were involved, the story was really about one friend, Eloise, and her growth. I’m not really sure these women were friends as much as acquaintances. Case in point, one friend was very successful in her work life; not so much with her relationships. It seemed that anytime her name came up in the story, Eloise had nothing good to say about her, to the point that I had to wonder why she ever was friends with Lynne, let alone why she worked so hard to remain ‘friends’!
Another issue I had was with Eloise’s boyfriend, Shawn. He was attractive, athletic, considerate, wealthy, smart; in short, perfect — TOO perfect. I don’t remember Eloise and Shawn having even a minor disagreement, let alone any real conflict.
The third thing that bothered me was the coincidences that occurred. I can’t really explain without revealing spoilers, so I will just say — Chicago is a big place! The chances of running into someone you know the first time you go to a restaurant you’ve never viseted before, without any advanced planning, are pretty insignificant. Also, no matter how rare you may THINK a name is, the chances that there are two people with that same first name living in the greater Chicago area are pretty significant!
If you are a foodie, you will probably love this book. There are recipes in the back, and they look yummy! (But too complicated with too many ingredients for me to want to try them — I want a personal chef!) If you are not a foodie, you may still enjoy this one when you are in the mood for a quick, light read. Even though the story had some weaknesses for me, I think a book club would find plenty to discuss, and there is a discussion guide (as well as recipes) at the end of the book.
You can connect with the author on her webpage, on Facebook, or Twitter.