“Ramona’s got a bratty boss, a toddler teetering through toilet training, a critical mom who doesn’t mind sharing, and oops—a cheating husband. That’s how a Category Four hurricane bearing down on her life in Savannah becomes just another item on her to-do list. In the next forty-eight hours she’ll add a neighborhood child and the class guinea pig named Clarence Thomas to her entourage as she struggles to evacuate town.
Ignoring the persistent glow of her minivan’s check engine light, Ramona navigates police check points, bathroom emergencies, demands from her boss, and torrential downpours while fielding calls and apology texts from her cheating husband and longing for the days when her life was like a Prince song, full of sexy creativity and joy.”
I received an Advanced Reader’s copy of None of This Would Have Happened if Prince Were Alive (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) from NetGalley and Atria Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I requested this book solely because of the title, not really knowing what the book was about and if it was my sort of jam. Well, it’s women’s contemporary fiction (even though it’s set in 2016), and for the most part, it is a book for me. Ramona is 38, is married with two young kids, working for a bonehead boss, a mother who won’t listen to her daughter, and oh, yeah, a hurricane is headed their way. What happens in the next 48 hours is what makes up the bulk of the book.
I don’t read “chick lit” often, but this book made me reconsider that. It’s well-written; I could tell it was when I kept getting frustrated at Ramona’s actions or reactions to events. She’s got a horrible husband whom she just caught cheating on her with a mom from her son’s school. For the most part, her reactions to this and how she deals with her husband are realistic. What’s not realistic is that after 48 hours of drama, she seems so willing to forget and forgive him, which to me didn’t make sense after all she’d been through. It didn’t match the character arc at all.
Having been the world’s worst potty trainer myself, I sympathized with Ramona’s plight with her daughter, in the midst of a hurricane, dealing with potty training with an unwilling participant. Her daughter is three, which some people might consider old enough to use the potty, but trust me when I say that each kid is different and two of my kids were four when they finally got potty trained.
I don’t know what I’d do if I lived in hurricane country, but as a rule, I’m prepared for any sort of emergency, which Ramona is not, and that drove me a little nuts. You’re talking to a woman who lives with a large bomb shelter stockpiled with non-perishable food and water, emergency road kit for the car, the works. The fact that she’s lived in the south for years and didn’t have any sort of plan didn’t ring true to me. Then again, on another level, it did. She’s a working mom who just struggles to get through the day, so perhaps I could cut her some slack.
If I worked for Ramona’s boss, Kenneth, I would have quit long ago. I mean, there’s a hurricane coming, the government is saying mandatory evacuation, and he’s still wondering and asking why she’s not at work. And then telling her she’s got a zoom call tomorrow. I’m glad she stood up to him in the end; it definitely showed some growth during the short two days the book is based upon.
The Prince references and flashbacks are interspersed throughout the book and add to the story, and I enjoyed them, because I enjoy Prince and grew up with his music. Ramona is a little younger than I am, yet she had the same visceral reaction to Prince that I did. I distinctly remember our summer park program parade and how most of the songs we danced to on our Solid Gold float were from Prince.
Overall, if you enjoy good women’s fiction, you might enjoy this book. You don’t have to be a Prince fan to enjoy the story. This reminds me of a Jennifer Weiner book, which is a good thing.
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