This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

This blog is part of my life journey. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me and maybe join in the discussion...

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Time to Get Happy! : A Review of Talli Roland's Watching Willow Watts

Happy Blogoversary to Tossing It Out!!!
Two great years starting with the first blog post on September 19, 2009


Watching Willow Watts - Out Now!The links are:

       Recently I finished reading J.D. Salinger's Catcher In The Rye.  I found that book to be somewhat of a downer, and perhaps I'll talk more about that book at a later time.   After finishing Catcher I began reading Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale which I was finding to be very ponderous and depressing.  Then along came Talli Roland's Watching Willow Watts.   I decided to take a break from the bleak Atwood tale to read Roland's much cheerier story.  A delightful diversion it turned out to be.

       Willow Watts is a young woman whose life has seemed to have hit a wall.  After her mother's death she leaves London and the man she loves to return to the dreary village where her father lives in order to comfort him and help out with his antique business which is on the brink of financial ruin.  Dressed as Marilyn Monroe, she appears in a whimsical video that rapidly becomes a YouTube sensation drawing thousands of fans to the village.  Suddenly, she is the fixation of her adoring fans and under the guidance of an unscrupulous talent agent sees a way out of her financial troubles and a promise of new prosperity for the village.  Her decisions bring changes to her life and the lives of those around her--but is the change for the better?

        In this short novel Talli Roland tells a blithe tale about when ordinary people are confronted with big changes.  The storytelling is skillful and told with humor and heart.  The characters are portrayed realistically with no airbrushing or cosmetic cover ups--we see the good and the bad and love or detest them for who and what they are.  These are adults doing grown up things, but with an innocence that almost charmed the pants off of me.  Oh, don't worry, my pants stayed on all the while that I was reading since there is nothing overly steamy in this book.   The book for the most has little to offend most readers.

        The message in the book is a good one portrayed in an entertaining way.  The story deals with people with empty spaces in their lives that need filling.  Roland examines how people try to fill the empty places by living vicariously through the lives of others on YouTube and reality TV.   As the characters in this story begin to realize the importance of accepting self and pursuing ones dreams, they gain awareness of how the past can cast a shadow on the present and stand in the way of the future.   Some of the characters are sweet while a few not so much.  Synchronous circumstances bring an assortment of people together in a place where dreams are fulfilled in unexpected ways.
       The book is not without flaws.  There is an abruptness in the continuity of some of the events in the novel, but it allows for fast pacing.   This is an easy read that is uplifting and funny.  The story drives home the positive message of acceptance of self and living life instead of just watching others live theirs.   In the end we understand that just watching Willow Watts is not as meaningful as being Willow Watts.   An important message for all of us.

       I don't typically read anything that might be labeled "chick lit", but I really did enjoy this book. I'm not even sure that it is fair to put the limits of the "chick lit" label on the book. My recommendation is read WATCHING WILLOW WATTS and decide for yourself. For me it was darn good reading. 

     Now I guess I can go back to finish A Handmaid's Tale



  1. Happy blog anniversary and many more to come.

    I read Talli's The Hating Game and thought that good so am looking forward to her next.

    Have a good day.

  2. Happy Anniversary Lee! It's ok that you celebrated by reading a chick lit. Men should do this more, it helps you understand more the fabulous world of women.

    I need to read Talli's book.

  3. I enjoyed The Hating Game and am looking forward to reading this one. As for Catcher in the Rye...I didn't like it in high school and sometimes wonder if I should read it again. Probably won't bother.

  4. Great review! I can't wait to get to it.

  5. Yay! Thank you so much, and I'm so thrilled you enjoyed it. :) I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed by Catcher in the Rye. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't that!

    Thanks again for reading, and happy blog-versary!

  6. Happy blogoversary!!

    And what a great review of Talli's book. I'm curious to read it. Have to admit, though, The Handmaid's Tale is one of my all time favs, even when it gets a little ponderous.

  7. Interesting factoid: I first read Handmaid's Tale while we were on tour together. Happy blogoversary.


  8. I enjoyed reading your perceptive review of WWW.

    A Handmaid's Tale is a very haunting book. The movie's pretty good, too.

  9. Yvonne -- I thank you for your continued support. You've been here with me almost from the beginning.

    Teresa -- I'm not sure what exactly "chick lit" would encompass, but Talli's book is fun for anyone and I wouldn't want to limit readers with a label.

    Bish -- This was my first read of Catcher after hearing about it for so many years. I can't say that I was overly impressed but I didn't dislike it. I do think how we perceive things in later years is much different than we saw them as teens.

    Clarissa - Willow is a quick easy read. Go for it!

    Talli -- I wasn't sure what to expect from Catcher either. It was not a racy as I had expected but I guess for its time it was pretty radical. Congratulations on all the great reviews Willow has been receiving. It is well deserving and hope you sell a ton.

    LG -- I will finish Atwood's book. It is an interesting concept, but it reads slow for me. But it's not bad by any means.

    Kelly -- I remember you reading that book--it came out not too long before we were on tour. Susan and I also bought a copy at that time. She read it but never really said much about it. Over the years I kept looking at it on the bookshelf at my mother's house when I would visit there and finally took it with me when I went to visit in August. I still have a lot of books at my mother's house. Thanks for the comment and I wish you much success with your blog and writing endeavors to come.

    Lisa M-- I totally missed the movie of Handmaid's Tale. Guess I should put it on my to watch list.


  10. In addition to your many talents, you could proudly add book reviewer amongst them! Great review that I especially enjoyed reading from a man's perspective! I look forward to reading "Willow" and I won't be able to stop smiling thinking about how you kept your pants on! Julie

  11. I'm looking forward to reading Talli's book. On the Atwood front...why do you continue to read something that depresses you? I can't do that.

  12. Good review for Talli! I downloaded her book and it will be my first chick lit. Only for Talli!

  13. Talli must be special for all you guys to read chick lit. :) Thanks for sharing a review with us and Happy Blog Anniversary!!

  14. Julie -- Thanks for your kind words about my book reviewing. I hope you will enjoy WWW as much as I did.

    Carol --The book is depressing in tone, but it certainly didn't depress me. I don't think I could find a fiction that would make me feel depressed. Since it is an acclaimed book I feel that Atwood's novel is worth completing and it does paint an interesting vision of a future world possibility. Talli's book was a nice way to break up the darkness of Atwood.

    Damon -- Thanks!

    Alex -- I guess this may have been my first chick lit (at least that I recall reading) and now that I know what it's like it may not be my last. But I still might argue that labeling this book for chicks could limit other readers who might be mislead by the label.

    Ciara -- Talli is pretty darn special as a good blog friend who co-hosted Blogging from A to Z with me. And thank you for the well-wishes.


  15. Nice review man these sound like books I should be reading some time in the future. I'm a new follower, and a new blogger sort of as well. I've only been doing this thing for a month or so but I really enjoy being able to express my opinions and stuff so I've took to the whole blogging thing pretty well. It would be cool if you could maybe read a few of my blogs, even to offer some kind of critiquing on the way I blog. I know my blog's my blog, but I also know it's not perfect and would appreciate some tips from an accomplished blogger like yourself :)

    Regardless I'm following your stuff anyway for more hopefully interesting and informative posts and I'll try read some more of your blogs currently posted while I'm at it.

  16. Oh yeah. And happy Bloversary too buddy. Two years in the game is an awesome achievement. Let's hope you continue for much longer.

  17. Happy blog anniversary!!

  18. If a book has a pink cover I'm obligated to like
    This is good review!
    Congrats on two years blogging, very inspiration ;)

  19. Happy Blogoversary! :)

    Thanks for the review!

  20. Two years, that's a tremendous accomplishment, congrats! [Hoisting virtual champagne flute in your direction]

    Talli's book in is my Kindle queue - I like her blog "voice" so I'm sure I will like it, but appreciate the heads up. I also really, really respect that you didn't sugarcoat the flaws you saw just because you were a friend.

    The Handmaid's Tale is indeed very dark, but masterful in its sensory details ans storytelling, and the ending, IMO, is quite hopeful. Catcher in the Rye I found hard to relate to, p'rhaps because I've never been an angry young man.

  21. Waffles -- You might especially enjoy Catcher in the Rye since it is more of a book that a man your age might relate to. Good luck with the blogging.

    La Vie-- Thanks!

    Dianne --Hard to believe it's only been two years. I feel like I've been blogging much longer.

    Golden Eagle -- Thank you for stopping.

    Beverly -- Catcher felt dated to me and almost innocent in today's climate of youthful rebellion. Now an angry young man would be probably violent, perhaps a gang member, and would probably use much worse language.


  22. Talli's story sounds like a breath of fresh air after the dreary reads you were reading.

  23. I'm reading Willow Watts ... over half way finished but had to take a break as kids are going back to school and editing my book and all. But I'll wrap it up soon.

    Thanks for the review! And good luck Talli!

  24. Congratulations on your second blog anniversary.
    Nice review of Talli's book. Are any books ever labelled as 'Men's fiction' or 'Lad lit'?

  25. I found a similar take on Hating Game; serious enough that it felt like time-well-spent, but a light enough treatment that it didn't feel like I was emotionally rung-out.

  26. Great Post :) +1 & followed

  27. Happy Second Birthday, Arlee. You're a true wunderkind :) This is now time to start learning to talk and to stop pooping in your diapers :P And stop juggling with your pacifiers, you're a big boy now :P

  28. Dora -- A breath of fresh air is exactly what Talli's book is.

    Stephen -- It's a busy time for many of us. It took me longer to read WWW than it should have but things are going on. It is a quick read though if you're not distracted.

    Janice -- Haven't necessarily heard a label directed toward men, but I guess men are the primary readers of certain book genres.

    Will -- That's kind of what reading fiction should be about I think--entertainment and diversion.

    Bones --- Thanks!

    Dezmond-- At two I'm still a toddler aren't I? Poopy diapers are no fun, but juggling pacifiers can be rather entertaining. Thanks for your continued blog friendship.


  29. Nice review! I normally don't like “chic lit” either but have read enough positive reviews that I'm going to give this one a look. And like you said, maybe it shouldn't be categorized that way after all.

  30. Happy Blogoversary!

    Sometimes you just need to read a light, entertaining book, at least I do.

  31. Great review Arlee, it makes me want to read this book. Talli is fortunate to have you as a friend and so am I.
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

  32. Happy Blogoversary. A Handmaid's Tale was a great read. I have Talli's book on my wishlist. :)

  33. Happy Blogoversary, Lee! It's a tribute to you :)

    Congrats also to Talli. I don't normally read 'chick lit' either, but think I may make an exception to the rule.

  34. Lisa -- The concept of "chick lit" says to me "no men allowed" so I tend to stay away. Maybe not so much in the future.

    Carol -- I like to vary what I read.

    Nancy -- It's good to help out one's friends. Thank you for your kind words.

    Mary -- I will finish the Atwood book. I do like the story concept.

    Wendy -- Talli's book is good to read if you need a lift.


  35. Congrats:) I think I'll try Watching Willow Watts.. it looks interesting!

  36. Okay, I was just about to pick up Catcher in the Rye, but now I'm a go for WWW. I've been seeing positive sniglets all over about it. I need something quick and funny. Thanks for the rec. Happy Blogosversary, Lee.

  37. Grats on your anniversary! I'm not even at two months yet.

  38. Tony -- Thanks!

    Emma -- Please let us know what you think of it.

    Leslie -- Quick and funny is an apt description for WWW, but it does have an excellent message as well. Then you can go for Catcher--not sure what positive message is in that one.

    Dwei -- Keep at it and you'll eventually make two years as well if that's where you want to be.


  39. Terrific review Lee - you've definitely sparked my interest!

    I totally agree about Catcher in the Rye.

  40. I'm not sure why Catcher is so renown. I guess it was just so radical in its time that it gained a reputation for that. It was good, but I'm not sure that it was find an easy time being published if it had been written in our day. Unless of course Holden was a vampire, werewolf, wizard, or something like that.



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