Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review: Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith

Author: Helen Smith
My Rating: 4 cups
Publisher:  Tyger Books
Publishing date: May 1st 2010
Blurb: (from Goodreads)

After her husband leaves her for another woman, twentysomething Londoner Alison Temple impulsively applies for a job at the very P.I. firm she hired to trap her philandering ex. She hopes it will be the change of scene she so desperately needs to move on with her shattered life. At the all-female Fitzgerald’s Bureau of Investigation, she spends her days tracking lost objects and her nights shadowing unfaithful husbands. But no matter what the case, none of her clients can compare to the fascinating characters in her personal life. There’s her boss, the estimable and tidy Mrs. Fitzgerald; Taron, Alison’s eccentric best friend, who claims her mother is a witch; Jeff, her love-struck, poetry-writing neighbour; and—last but not least—her psychic postman. Her relationships with them all become entangled when she joins Taron for a road trip to the seaside and stumbles into a misadventure of epic proportions! Clever, quirky, and infused with just a hint of magic, this humorous literary novel introduces a memorable heroine struggling with the everyday complexities of modern life.
One of the first things that came into my head after reading this book is "What a brilliant opening!" Seriously, you have to love a heroine saying this:
"I'm waiting for Mr. Wonderland and when I find him I'll get married. Until, then I'm staying single."

It's such a smart answer to anyone bothering you about your personal life, right?

Then there's the cover. I love the red, black and white and how they look together. It's like a mystery, making me wonder how colorful London - and the world in general - would look like if I looked at it from Alison's POV. And I can honestly say Alison's view of the world is quite unique. Afraid of letting her guard down with another man, due to her cheating ex husband, she'd rather live in a pseudo-relationship than trying to see if a real relationship would actually work. She's afraid of rejection, though I can hardly blame her. Her job isn't helping either. As a female P.I, she's mostly hired to prove an estranged husband or boyfriend is a cheater. At some point she gets a "secret mission" to check out some company dealing with genetically altered vegetables.

Besides Alison, we get to meet some interesting characters. We have Taron, Alison's friend, who is one of those unique friends. Taron is the kind of person who will either drive you mad or make you a happier person. She thinks her mother is a witch and she believes in horoscopes, witchcraft and things like that. I do believe she's the type who can make a really sad person to smile. Then there's Mrs. Fitzgerald, Alison's boss. She seemed like the motherly type. For some reason, she left me thinking that she cared for each and every woman she met through her agency, be they employees or women hiring her for different reasons. And many other characters that I won't talk about, because then I'll probably give some unwanted spoilers :P

There are some funny moments in this book too. I actually laughed out loud a few times.

I felt as though the ending wasn't exactly the way I had hoped it would be. There was some suspense regarding Alison's job and one of her marks and I was waiting for something more spectacular to happen. Then again, maybe it was the right ending for Alison, proving that not always you need a big "boom" at the end of a frightening experience. Though I did see Alison grow up as the story progressed.

Anyway, if you love chick lit, you might want to check this out. I know I really enjoyed reading this book!

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