Ask Again Later by Jill A. Davis slowly drew me in, and made me care about the character.
I read it because in the review, Richard Russo, one of my all-time favorite writers gave it a thumbs-up and because I’d enjoyed Davis’ other book, Girls’ Poker Night.
“Books as breezy and effortlessly funny as Jill Davis’s new novel sometimes lack weight, but Ask Again Later is both serious and emotionally resonant. It rewards at every level.”
Russo’s review is spot-on. Although I admit when I started the book, I had my doubts. The main character came across as flighty and spacey. But Davis built her out, masterfully, as she did the story.
It had been a while, though, and I had forgotten Davis’ style. She writes brief articles of a story in a moment-by-moment way. Her characters are quirky, slightly stereotyped, but mainly because they initially interact on the “take you for granted” level. However, over the course of the book, the walls fall and the characters become more three dimensional. Her dialogue and characters are real, they get in sticky situations but not in a contrived way. But most of all, you care. There is no huge climax or build to climax, but the story engages you and keeps you reading, as does the rapport you feel with the characters. If you like books that are not too deep, but not too superficial, and pretty standard for the real day-to-day life we lead, this is a good read for you.
At the end, I liked it. It had closure, in all respects, so I wasn’t left wishing for more or missing the characters. In a way, they sort of rode off into the sunset for me. I was glad we’d crossed paths, and wished them well.
Summary from Jill A. Davis.com
Emily has a tendency to live with one foot out the door. For her, the best thing about a family crisis is the excuse to cut and run. When her mother dramatically announces they’ve found a lump, Emily gladly takes a rain check on life to be by her mother’s side, leaving behind her career, her boyfriend, and those pesky, unanswerable questions about who she is and what she’s doing with her life.
But back in her childhood bedroom, Emily realizes that she hasn’t run fast or far enough. One evening, while her mother calls everyone in her Rolodex to brief them on her medical crisis and schedule a farewell martini, Emily opens the door, quite literally, to find her past staring her in the face. How do you forge a relationship with the father who left when you were five years old? As Emily attempts to find balance on the emotional see-saw of her life with the help of two hopeful suitors and her Park Avenue princess sister, she takes a no-risk job as a receptionist at his law firm and slowly gets to know the man she once pretended was dead.
copyright 2007 Julie Pippert