Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: Satisfaction by Andee Reilly

I am not a particularly big Rolling Stones fan. I am also not a wild and spontaneous person. I am pretty conventional and settled. But this is why I read, to try on personas that are most decidedly not me. Sometimes it's fantastic to spend time with characters who are so different than I am and sometimes I just never get them. In Andee Reilly's novel, Satisfaction, one main character is a huge Rolling Stones fan who adores Mick Jagger and the other is a mother who has been running from her daughter and the complicated emotional relationship they've shared for years, two women so far outside my experience, I could only encounter them in fiction.

Ginny discovers that her husband has been cheating on her with a coworker. Needing to escape and think about whether or not she cares to try and salvage her marriage, she practically maxes out their credit card and buys tickets to all of the shows in the current Rolling Stones tour. Ginny's been a devoted fan since high school (which wasn't all that long ago actually, as she's only 22) and she has hopes that this solo trip following her obsession will help heal her heart. Along the way she meets Bree, a waitress at a diner in Arizona who is kind to her when she's not feeling well. Amazingly for such a normally staid young woman, Ginny is more than happy to invite Bree to come along on the road trip with her. A decade older than Ginny, Bree has her own set of baggage. She is also the veteran of an unhappy marriage but in her case, she's also got a teenaged daughter, Victoria, who goes to a private boarding school in Florida, idolizes her deceased father, and scorns the mother who abandoned her. Bree is complete spontaneity contrasted to Ginny's meticulous planning. As they drive, they share their pasts and their frustrations with each other, building a friendship, having adventures, and listening to the Stones.

Although Ginny is only 22, she comes across as much older, beaten down, and helpless in the life she created for herself. Bree's character is the less mature of the two, flighty, and scared of deep emotional commitment, even to her own child. It is only through Bree's unexpected caretaking of Ginny that she starts to connect and to face the mess she's made with her daughter and with the man she has loved for so long. Ginny, in turn needed to see Bree's breezy, devil may care attitude about life to recognize her own strength and desires for her future. While they are vital to each other's growth and transformation, their immediate friendship is not entirely believable. The novel is loaded with arcane Stones trivia, but despite Ginny's ultra-fandom, much of it feels forced into the narrative purely for information's sake. If it needs to be explained by the characters to make sure the reader gets it all, it probably isn't serving the story all that well, as was the case when Bree uses titles of many of the Stones' songs thrown together in a verbal collage of sorts to apologize to Ginny. The narrative pacing is uneven and the ending is abrupt. The bulk of the novel is composed of internal ruminations and emotional, repetitive conversations about their marriages and men while the plot itself is fairly thin. Although both women are looking for the courage to break out of the lives they've created and find the happiness they each deserve on their own terms, for some reason, it was hard for me as a reader to connect with them or to really feel invested in them.

For more information on Andee Reilly and the book, visit her webpage, like her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter. Check out the book's GoodReads page. For others' opinions on the book, check it out on Amazon.

Thanks to the publisher and BookSparks PR for sending me a copy of the book for review.

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