Just Pru, Anne Pfeffer
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
I really wasn’t sure what this would be like, it sounded interesting – a romance with humour, so I took the plunge. And I’m so glad I did, its a book that made me smile but also has some really deep content and I so felt for poor Pru.
“My mother once joked that my dad had wanted to name me Obedience. As if Prudence wasn’t bad enough. I was not a Prudence and I never would be.” So she tells us just there the main reason for her problems. Parents – over protective and controlling. It seems they’ve run every tiny detail of Pru’s life, home schooling her, and between her mothers assertions that Pru can’t do everything others can, that daily life is fraught with danger and she needs protecting, ( see the clipping she sends Pru about the dangers of choking on ….large Cashew nuts – horrors, Pru must take her advice and stop eating them…)to her overbearing and controlling father, it’s no wonder she’s 25 but struggling to be an adult.
She’s had a wonderful therapist, and with his urging she took the plunge and moved out – completely against her parents wishes, and they insist on a daily phone call. Sadly the therapist has died, but Pru conjures up past conversations with him, and thinking what he would advise makes her plans according to that. He really has given her some valuable tools to cope. Add that and the experience of life she’s gained from her TV show addictions when stuck at home all day, she manages to bumble through the first month or so of her new life, though until the fire forces her out of her flat she’s not really getting anywhere. No job, little money and now thanks to the fire no home.
That’s when the wonderful Ellen comes in, she lives in the adjoining block she’s one of life’s nurturers, and she quickly steps in, sorting out immediate accommodation and clothes for those left like Pru.
Ellen though has problems too – she’s written and is directing a modern day play, actually it sounds really grim but by the end of the book I’d seen the magic in it. Pru is needed by Ellen – and that’s really hard work for her, involving conversations with her dead therapist, and scenes from the TV shows, lots of mental psyching, times stuck in the bathroom, counting sevens til in the thousands and yet – she does it. And as she gets more used to it she grows in confidence, loves being needed, finds things she’s good at and gets closer to delicious neighbour Adam.
Ellen’s life is a whirlwind, she seems to swoop from crisis to crisis handling everything with her normal aplomb. Pru is swept along with her, and along the journey we see more of her, what makes her tick, as well as how she gently teases out other peoples problems – Blake for instance. The star of the play who’s nothing short of neurotic and demanding at times. Pru knows all about covers though, and slowly works out what his real problem is and helps things move forward. I love the way she uses what she’s seen on TV to make her plans ( as defined by her therapist) and move forward. She’s a real star and incredibly courageous. I love the convo she and Adam have when discussing his past breakup – what would be his ideal woman she asks. One that could accept his neuroses ( he has OCD about germs, and is constantly worrying about them, cleaning and washing his hands) he says. What neuroses she replies, he thinks she’s making a joke and laughs, and yet she’s not – to her its just part of his personality – after all her life is strange enough that his seems normal.
Its a read full of fun, of pathos, where I went from smiling to tears, from being on a high to veering right down when things went wrong for Pru. When it looked like she was back to the start, when her parents stepped in and looked like they were going to ruin all she’d done, and turn her back into the scared, terrified even – of life girl we first met. I was mentally shouting at her “ don’t let them do it Pru!!” She’s gained some strength though thankfully, and its got the perfect ending. It’s a fabulous, fun read and much deeper than I expected. Its not just fluffy, chick-lit romance, but has real people with genuine problem’s, and looks deeper into the personalities to what lies underneath the surface actions.
Stars: Stars: Five,
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers
He writes on the opposite end of fantasy to that which I enjoy, so I’ve never got on with his books but millions have, and he’s been an amazing author, opening up the world of fantasy to so many.
I’ve just learned of the passing of author Terry Pratchett, and the world seems a sadder place to me today. His imagination made everything better and funnier, and I wish I had discovered his books years earlier. Tonight, the wee, free men and I will drink a toast in his honor, and we will never, ever forget him!