Thursday, July 15, 2010

Book Review: "Leaning Into the Curves"

Nancy Anderson and Carrol Hofeling Morris are two parts of a trio of ladies whose writing careers melded with their series The Company of Good Women, written with Lael Littke. With this new venture, Nancy and Carrol explored a side of LDS life I hadn't known existed.

It was funny, because at my last writer's conference I sat at a lunch table with these three women, as they chatted, discussing someone and a trial they were going through. Then a thought occurred to me and I turned to the ladies, "Hey can I ask a question?"


"Are you talking about a real person, or one of your characters?"

Of course they had been discussing a character for a story they were working on as if she were real--which she was to them! We writers are weird people!

Here's the blurb:

Molly is happy with her life the way it is, but everything changes when her husband, Hank, retires. When Hank brings home a Gold Wing motorcycle and joins the Temple Riders Association, a “Mormon motorcycle gang” that combines road trips with temple work, things go from bad to worse. Faced with the prospect of being left behind as Hank hits the road with his new group of friends, Molly starts making some changes of her own.

A funny, often poignant, look at the challenges of reinventing life after sixty.

I reviewed the last book in The Company of Good Women series when it came out and was impressed with the way the three women wove their talents together to create books with three point-of-view characters. I've heard more than once that co-writing is actually more work than writing a book alone, especially when you have to meld writing styles. I attributed much of their previous success to the fact that they were writing from three different points of view--and that the three characters *ought* to have different styles of thought and speech.

That left me wondering how these ladies would tackle a book that is all in a single point of view. They did it well, so well there was no discernible change in writing style that I could see. Maybe that comes from years of writing as a team, or maybe it comes from diligent and thorough editing. Either way, I'm very impressed!

I liked that Molly had a good reason for her hatred of motorcycles, that her feelings about them were well established long before her husband brought his Gold Wing home. I love that she was always taking classes and playing with different hobbies--I think many women get so bogged down with our homes and families that we forget to keep stretching ourselves and pushing to learn more and be more. And I appreciated the book's message that things change, and even though we hadn't planned a change in our lives, if we're willing to lean into the curves, we can grow and stretch and find something more out there than we ever expected.

This is another great read by Nancy and Carroll with realistic characters, a complex plot, and plenty of life's lessons along the way!


Jennifer Shirk said...

That sounds like a really great story. I love that the characters are older too.

Carroll said...

No doubt about it, Heather, we writers are weird. To us, our characters do exist somewhere out there....

Thanks for reviewing Leaning into the Curves. Molly and her husband Hank thank you, too!

Nichole Giles said...

Great review! I enjoyed this book as well.

Alice Wills Gold said...

I came to find your blog through a google search. Call me weird but I searched you out from the list of reviewers on Tristi's e-mail. I wanted to see what other people had to say.

I really enjoy Leaning Into The Curves. I also enjoyed your review.

And now I am in awe because the author left you a comment! Awesome.

Jessica said...

I love that we all have that experience sometimes... talking about our characters as if they were real.
They are real to us!
Thanks for the review!

kbrebes said...

Interesting ideas! The book sounds fun. I'd like to co-write someday.

I looked at the beautiful cake down the column--I've got to make one! BTW, I'm a huge cake lover, too! I've got pics of most of the cakes I've decorated for my kids, and I bake large cookie cakes for my tutoring students on their birthdays, which they love!