Monday, December 22, 2008

Perfect on Paper by Maria Murnane

Perfect . . . on Paper: The Misadventures of Waverly Bryson
by Maria Murnane
Copyright 2008
Wink's Ink - fiction
314 pages

It was my dream to have a client who would fly me business class, but for now the only way I was sitting in business class was if I enrolled in one at the local community college.

"You know Waverly, you've got to lower your standards," Davey said. "The way I see it, dating is like being in the jungle. Now a relationship is a vine, and when things don't work out, you're basically hanging a vine that ain't swinging anymore. Now you want to jump to another vine, a healthier vine, a more supportive vine, or maybe a more exciting vine, but if none of the other vines are good enough for you, or if you don't have enough energy to make the jump, you're going to spend the rest of your life clinging to a lifeless bottom of a dead vine just so you don't fall into the abyss below. " He accompanied the speech with swinging ape-like arm gestures and a variety of animal sounds.

What led you to pick up this book? I read a very positive review of this book and it was already on my wish list when I was offered a copy for a book tour -- which was supposed to be today. Apologies to the author and tour people. I cannot apparently read a calendar.

Describe the book without giving anything away. Oh, this is a hard one to synopsize. Waverly Bryson is dumped by her fiance just before her wedding. She has an okay job, a dysfunctional father who drives her nuts, great friends, and a knack for finding flaws in the men she dates. Will she ever find the perfect life she's hoping for?

What did you like most about the book? Maria Murnane is funny. I think that of all the books I've seen referred to as an "American Bridget Jones", this one is probably the closest because Waverly is just so darned fun. She's talented at work but screws up a great deal, personally and professionally. She's endearing and makes friends easily. Her dating life is a freak show. Waverly is a completely loveable, goofy character. And, she drinks too much.

What did you think of the characters? I truly loved them all. Even when she described her dating disasters, it was such fun reading that I liked the rejects.

Describe a favorite scene. There's a scene at a wedding, with a bunch of single people stuck at a table. They come up with a way to fill the time by listing "things that will exclude a possible date from consideration". What a great scene. But, honestly, they're all great except for the drunken heaving and that never thrills me.

Was there anything you didn't like about the book? I could say things fall into place a little too easily for Waverly, but that's not really true. More like . . . when they go right they really, really go right. She's sort of a classic chick-lit type of character, but the writing is better than most; Waverly is witty and fun. Wait? Was I supposed to find something wrong with the book? Nope, can't do it. I loved this book.

Recommended? Gosh, yes. Buy this book if you love chick lit or need a light read or an upper or just want to feel like, "Hahaha, my life is better than Waverly's because I got a guy without having to go through all that." It's just loads of fun and very original. Absolutely not a chick lit ditto book. In fact, even if you hate chick lit I'd still say give it a try but be forewarned that if you hate to smile you're in trouble. It's either self-published or small press (sorry, too lazy to look that up) but it's better edited than most big press books and . . . well, maybe one tiny thing I dislike is that people are always asking Waverly if she's all right because there's a bit of slapstick. But, I loved it. Highly recommended.

Anything else worth mentioning? The book arrived with a sweet note saying this is Maria's first book and she's very grateful for the reviews -- from Maria's husband father (oops, Maria corrected me). How cool is that? I just think that's ridiculously sweet.

Cover thoughts: Hmm, needs work. I think, actually, the title is pretty dull. "The Misadventures of Waverly Bryson" would have been great, if you ask me. My opinion. The cover could stand a picture, also. The little memo page is just not memorable.

I know I'm supposed to be taking a break from blogging, but there's one more thing I have to mention. Chris of Stuff as Dreams Are Made On sent me a Christmas gift and it was just the coolest gift that I have to mention it and say thank you for the hundred-thousandth time to Chris. He sent me a copy of Paper Towns by John Green!!!! Seriously, I squealed and bounced and squealed some more. The guys were ready to gag me (and the husband actually put his hand on my head to get me to stop bouncing), but it was at the top of my mental most-coveted books list and, honestly, how could I not? Thank you, Chris!!!

Since it's still Christmas week, here's another picture from the crazy nutso Bookfool who can't seem to shut up and stop posting. I'll call it "When Candy and Bookfool Mix, Weird Things Happen":

Also, thanks to Jessica for the reminder that it's not just Christmas season. Happy Hanukkah!!


  1. This book is getting lots of great buzz.

  2. Kathy,

    I do believe it deserves attention. It's a very original, witty, fun story.

  3. Funny that you didn't care for the cover - I really like it. I probably wouldn't have picked this one up but your review is so positive. I'll be on the lookout for it.

    Merry Christmas, Nancy. Hope you have a wonderful holiday. Watch the candy!

  4. Booklogged,

    I like the colors, but for some reason the cover just doesn't grab me. I'm glad you enjoyed the review (and, actually, I'm happy that you like the cover)! It's a really fun book.

    Merry Christmas to you, too! Candy is dangerous. I'll watch carefully. :)

  5. Oh you are too sweet! Don't get me wrong, I love me some Christmas too! We do both- my husband is Jewish and I always feel so bad for him because they always get lost in the mire!

    Thanks love!

    P.s. I love your breaks! I would like to see you on vacation!

  6. Jessica,

    I felt bad because last year I read a book called something like The Very Worst Christmas (?) and there were an awful lot of tales of Jewish childhoods -- painful memories of times when parents wouldn't let them celebrate or they just felt like their holiday was ignored. And, I totally forgot about it! I had no idea till then that Christmas was a touchy time of year for some people, so I really appreciate the reminder!! :)

    P.S. I know. I'm awful. I'm getting offline, now, I promise.

  7. Hi there! I wrote "Perfect on Paper" and wanted to thank you for your nice review-- I am so glad you enjoyed the book! One thing though: The nice note you received with your review copy was from my DAD! He's been so helpful to me that I want to make sure he gets a shout out-- plus I don't have a husband (yet), so I don't want to start any rumors. :)

  8. Sounds like a lot of fun. I don't read a lot of "Chick Lit" any more, but there are days when I really need something light and "fluffy". I will have to keep my eye out for this one.

    Nice review!

  9. Huh, at first I thought it was a self-help HOW-TO-WRITE a resume book. How fun it sounds instead! I think I will add this to my tbr. Thanks. I love the husband's note, too. ah, so sweet!

  10. I've heard a lot of good things about this book. Glad you enjoyed it. Merry Christmas!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  11. Maria,

    Thank you for dropping by. I've corrected that error with a strike-oops note. I still think it's sweet. If you can get a husband who'll send out a note like that for your next novel, you've got it made. Loved your book. Keep writing!!


    I've gotten away from chick lit a bit, myself, but yep . . . sometimes you just have to cry, "Fluff break!" It's a good one. Hope you enjoy it, if/when you get around to reading. Thank you. :)


    Ohmygosh, I totally missed the fact that the cover looks almost exactly like a book I read on how to market your book, earlier this year. I thought it looked kind of "familiar". It's such a fun book. But, as it turns out, Maria is not married and the note came from her father (she corrected me). Still sweet, don't you think?


    It's very fun and original. Merry Christmas!!!

  12. The more I hear about this book, the more I want to read it. I read an interview with the author not too long ago and she sounds like an amazing person. Great review, Nancy!

  13. I'm so glad that the book arrived safe and sound! I was convinced that it wasn't going to make it to you for Christmas :p Anytime I can make a booklover squeal, I'm a happy man :) I really had no clue though that it was on the top of your list! How cool! I just knew you liked Green. Enjoy it Nancy and tell the family merry christmas for me (and the cats)

  14. Wendy,

    I haven't seen an interview with her!! I'll have to look that up. The book is delightful. I think you'd enjoy it. Thank you and Merry Christmas!! :)


    You wouldn't have known because it's just my mental coveting list -- I don't do "Friday Finds" or book coveting posts. Are you telepathic? 'Cause you did good, babe. :) I'm sure you would have loved to see the bouncing, too. I bounce when I'm excited. It's not in my sidebar, yet, but I actually began to read Looking for Alaska, a couple of days ago, so yep . . . love Green like crazy. Thank you! Will do! Merry Christmas to you and yours, too!!!

  15. Sounds like a good book. Thanks for the review.


  16. Cheryl,

    It's loads of fun. Thanks and Merry Christmas!

  17. Sounds interesting. Do you think I would like it?
    I love the Holiday colored packaging of the minture snickers. I make myself sick on them. lol
    Merry Christmas!

  18. Brittanie,

    Apart from the occasional heavy drinking and a tiny bit of swearing, it's pretty clean -- no sex (although she talks about going without, now and then). I'm guessing you'd enjoy it.

    Haha! Gotta watch out for those little Snickers. They're good, but you can OD. Merry Christmas!!!

  19. This book has so many cool reviews... and that note from the author's dad is so cute too :)
    And wow... good for u to get such a lovely gift from Chris :) :)

    Happy Hannukkah ... Merry Christmas :)

    and how did u get tat effect on the image?! :) :)

  20. Veens,

    It deserves the positive reviews, in my humble opinion.

    Thank you! Happy Holidays to you!!

    The candy cane photo was an attempt at panning. I set the shutter speed to 1/2 second and then turned with the candy cane in my hand to catch movement. The idea was to keep the candy cane in focus and show background movement, but it's hard to pan one-handed and I apparently jerked a bit, hence the look of a quadruple-exposed piece of candy. It's one way of showing the world that I've lost it. LOL

  21. A very Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  22. Oh yeah. I've got to nominate this for my ChickLit group read next month! I agree, the cover really needs work. Ooh, that pic makes me dizzy.

  23. Tink,

    It's an awfully fun book. I hope you do read it with your group!

    LOL about the pic. It's definitely dizzying. :)

  24. Great review as usual, Nancy. Spectacular photo of the candy cane and lights! Love it.

  25. Thanks, Tammy. :)

    Obviously, I have a little too much fun with that camera. LOL

  26. I recently read and enjoyed this as well. I'll be posting my review soon but haven't quite gotten there yet :)

  27. Samantha,

    Isn't it cute? I have some serious catching-up to do, also. I'm putting it off. And, my Google Reader is about to explode.

  28. Sounds like a great book for the new year. Thanks for the review!


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