Spin by Catherine McKenzie
The day before a job interview for a dream job writing about music for a magazine called The Line, her friend invites her out for a drink, which turns into many drinks.
Because she’s had so many drinks the night before, she barely makes it to the interview on time. Her brain is cloudy and she can’t think straight. At one point she has to run to the bathroom to vomit. The woman who follows her recommends AA, which Kate thinks is ridiculous. She screwed up this interview, but it was just a one-time mistake. Yes, it’s true that for a while now, Kate has been stealing her roommate’s bottles of wine, which the roommate buys as an investment. Kate sees no issue with drink the wine since her roommate won’t.
Depressed, Kate goes home to drink and follow the story of Amber Shepard, a woman who became famous playing The Girl Next Door on a TV show as a teenager. Amber used that success to star in two successful horror films and a movie that garnered her an Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, she’s been caught on camera smoking crack, and is sent to rehab.
Bob, the owner of The Line, also owns a magazine called Gossip Central. He considers Kate’s less-than-spectacular job interview and thinks she might be the perfect candidate to go undercover at the rehab center to get the inside scoop on Amber.
Naturally, Kate doesn’t think she has a problem—she’s never had a DUI for example, because she’s smart enough to take cabs. But there are other things in her life that indicate she’s not living honestly—with her friends, family, and herself.
The story is fun and fast-paced. I recommend it.
The Dog Year by Ann Garvin
Lucy is a successful plastic surgeon who helps women with reconstructive surgery after battling breast cancer. Eight months ago, her husband died, which triggered a latent kleptomaniac side of Lucy—she steals supplies from the hospital and doesn’t know why she does it. She’s ordered to go to therapy, and her therapist suggests that she attends an AA meeting because it’s the only self-help group in their small town.
Until Lucy gets caught on tape stealing supplies and is told she has to get help or get another job, Lucy’s only friends were her husband and her brother. She spent so much of her time focusing on her work that she figured that’s all she needed. Now that her husband is dead and she can’t work until she gets help, she meets new friends through therapy and AA—a woman who’s anorexic and recovering alcoholics, including a police officer Lucy went to high school with. Through this eclectic group of friends and befriending dogs in need of rescue, Lucy does indeed grow and change. The humor and pacing make this a fun, light read despite the difficult topics of mourning and behavior disorders. I liked reading about a kleptomaniac and an anorexic. The woman battling the eating disorder tells Lucy, “Most people, when I talk about my eating disorder say really stupid things like ‘It’s not cancer, all you have to do is eat.’ Or, ‘I wish I could get anorexia for a few days.” Lucy never says those things, because she doesn’t understand why she does the things she does either—who is she to judge?
My favorite quote of the book, however, is “If you understand that you have limited time, you won’t want to waste a moment watching reality TV, fighting about a parking space, or stealing . . .”
The animals and quirky characters make for a fun read.