"Certain Girls" by Jennifer Weiner
I recently referred to Jennifer Weiner as one of my favorite chic lit authors. I think I did her a disservice. Her novels are filled with themes and issues that are certainly of interest to women but they are nowhere as light as chic lit. I find them a bit meatier.
"Certain Girls" is a sequel to "Good in Bed" picking up Cannie's life several years later. She is now happily married and her daughter, Joy, is a young teen. Joy is aware that she was conceived out of wedlock and her father isn't the man she calls her Dad. After "Good in Bed" left off Cannie became a minor celebrity with publication of a novel that was a fictionalized autobiography, written in anger. Joy decides it's time to covertly read the novel her mother wrote years before and takes it as truth.
Certain Girls is written from both Cannie's and Joy's voices. It looks at adolescence from the confused perspective of a child struggling with too many questions, wondering if her mother truly didn't want her, why her birth father disappeared, who her mother really is - the woman in the novel? - and much more. She is a daring and brave young girl with too many misconceptions. It also looks at the bewilderment of a mother who couldn't love her daughter more as she is excluded from a life she wants desperately to protect.
Unlike chic lit, Jennifer Weiner doesn't tie up her novel with a pretty ribbon and give us the perfect ending to a perfect story. The ending is satisfying but as in real life, lacks happily ever after.