This book turned out to be light and fun and the perfect palate cleanser after reading a stream of extremely dark (but excellent) novels back to back. This is a story where mostly nothing bad happens and things come out right in the end. You've got to enjoy a book that throws together Marcel the Lion, the hapless driver's ed instructor, a jewel thief, the downtrodden bartender who longs for the love of a good woman, a former Miss North Carolina, and a moronic preacher whose ideals make him the perfect 21st century counterpart to Jane Austen's Mr. Collins. The fact that Marcel becomes a combination of guru/higher power/shrink for two of the women is pure bonus.
I recommend this book for anybody who is looking for something on the lighter side. I have the strong feeling that the author might turn this chic lit into a chick flick. Think "Thelma & Louise" meets anything by Billie Letts, minus the cliffside-plunge-to-the-death, and you'll have the right idea.
This was not a book that I ruined with dog-ears to mark my favorite passages, but here's one that gives a flavor of the book:
"Rita thinks and it comes back to her what she sensed when she saw him [Marcel the Lion]. She feels it again, something stirring inside her. Barely there, yet for most people it would be unmistakable: a sense of beginning. Rita, however, is so unfamiliar with adventure or possibility that she can't tell the difference between something auspicious and a stomachache (24)."
NB: This book will be published in May by Blue Rider Press, a division of Penguin. It also happens to qualify for my ninth book read for the New Author Challenge, sponsored by Literary Escapism.