Friday, July 15, 2011

Skipping a Beat - Sarah Pekkanen

Skipping a Beat - Sarah Pekkanen - 352 Pages

Julia has a First World problem: her husband Michael has had a near-death experience and has decided to donate all of his "I created flavored water money" to charity. To stay with Michael and be poor or divorce him and be rich? Well, wait, she can't do that; pre-nup. It doesn't make for an easy emotional choice either; they've been together since high school.

Indeed. Julia and Mike have been together forever. You get the impression at first that they are a perfect pair. Until Julia starts talking about opera and comparing her life to it. Yes, they have several problems as a married duo: too much time apart, too much money, too many snobby friends, and not enough infidelity.

More infidelity would've made the plot move faster. Instead we get Julia scheming and plotting on how she can dump Michael and keep all of her money. Michael continually talks about that ooey-gooey feeling he got when he was dead despite being a life long atheist. And Julia continually recounts how they met, how much she loves him, how much he has helped her, and how she's going to ditch the bastard. In the middle of all that scandal-flavored-water is a sea of confusion for Julia; does she really still love Mike and did Mike really meet God and fist pump him?

Sarah Pekkanen. I've never read anything by her before. So this was a first time experience. I don't know what I was expecting when I started Skipping a Beat; it surely wasn't a couple of rich people complaining about being mega rich and having a problem with it. Maybe because I'm unemployed and a little jealous and can't understand their position. Maybe it's because all of their problems could have been solved with one conversation. Maybe Mike should have went to a psychologist before he decided to give away the empire he built. Maybe Julia should have just shut up and admitted she's a vain bitch.

She'll come around, though. Michael will convince everyone around him that his money going to cancer research so him and his wife can live in a duplex is a good thing because it's the morally correct thing to do; screw your wife and give it all up. Is that even right?

That's really what this book comes down to: the husband wants redemption for being rich and the wife doesn't want to give it up. Ayn Rand would be shocked at Michael's ideas but proud of Julia. Ayn Rand's philosophy is not something I can get behind. Neither is Skipping a Beat's message.

But does Julia have to agree with Michael? Does she get to be stuck-up? Does Michael's irrational behavior give Julia the right to ditch him so she can continue to live her rich lifestyle? The plot and characters might not stick with me but Pekkanen's questions will. I'm already pondering as to whether or not Michael is the real a-hole here.

Favorite line:
"The opera is the perfect place to hide. No one cares if you sit in your seat crying, as long as you're quiet about it."

Reminds me of:

God meme. For raising questions that will stick around for a while.


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