SIX WEEKS TO TOXIC by Louisa McCormack (Key Porter), 272 pages, $22.95 paper. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Toronto journalist and former perky host of CTV's The Chat Room, Louisa McCormack has written the perfect guilty-pleasure novel for summer.
As the bright pink and red legs in high heels on the cover suggest, Six Weeks To Toxic documents the thorny entanglements of single girls who love their cocktail hour and designer purses.
Chick lit assumptions aside, it's also a fast-paced, honest account of two hetero gal pals nearing their mid-30s and treating each other badly in the name of best friends forever. From the get-go, the reader is told there's a six-week countdown to their friendship's final demise and, presto - an instant structure to the narrative.
This structure both hinders and helps plot development. On the one hand, we know what's going to happen - which may put off those who like to do a little more work for themselves as readers. On the other hand, it doesn't stray from its intent - to be a friendship breakup novel. McCormack insists that while breaking up with a man is well-worn territory, there isn't a roadmap for adult friendships gone wrong.
Bess is the likeable narrator, a 35- year-old working her way up as a foley artist in Hollywood North. Her witty interior monologue and lack of desperation around landing a man is refreshing in Bridget Jones territory. Her best friend since college, Maxine, is a true bitch on wheels: wealthy, desperate for her mother's and a man's approval and, in a word, incredibly tiresome. It's hard to know why it took so long for Bess to break it off. When at last its Maxine who does the walking, the book offers interesting insights into why we invest in destructive friendships out of habit and for the sake of comfort.
Six Weeks To Toxic is a fun read if you're in the mood for a Kate Hudson comedy and don't want to walk to the video store.
It's also got some hot sex scenes that are funny and entertaining - as is the book as a whole.
Write Books at firstname.lastname@example.org