Having read another book by the author, I was looking forward to reading/listening to another work by her. I should have taken a pass on In Love With A Younger Man though. From the bizarre timeline to the less than well fleshed out characters, it was a hot mess.
If you're planning to read this book at any time, you should probably stop reading this review now because I'm about to tell you in detail about how ridiculous it is. If you're still here, I'll assume you have no plans to read it and want to hear why I think the pages of this book would be better off lining the bottom of a bird's cage. Actually I listened to this, so it would be more accurate to say the CDs could be used as coasters.
So what made it so ridiculous and why did I keep listening? I kept thinking it would get better. And, honestly, the first six hours weren't so bad. They focused on the character's college years, so her shallowness and naivete were characteristics that could easily be attributed to her age. Wait, let me back up and tell you what this book is about.
Oleana Day grew up overlooked by her classmates, boys and girls alike, with the exception of her high school boyfriend, Stan, in her hometown of Detroit. She believed that things would be different once she began college at Howard University in DC. Unfortunately, the girls there either ignore or dislike her, just like the ones in Detroit. The men do notice her now though and she hasn't even settled into college life well before she's caught up in an affair with an upperclassman. It turns out that the senior she's dating is already engaged to someone else and Oleana, the girl who started out as a promising student, ends up a college drop out after two years. You like how I summed that up in a paragraph? Yes? So why did it take the author six hours to get that across? Your guess is as good as mine.
Fast forward 25 years and Oleana is the top salesperson for her company. She's worked hard for years and saved almost every dime she's made, forgoing vacations and a personal life. As the realization that she has no real friends or a life hits her, Oleana decides to take a sabbatical. Now most people I know have a plan when they take a sabbatical. Whether it's building houses in a devastated area, working on their art, etc., there tends to be a plan. Oleana's only plan was to buy a Lexus. No, that's not a typo, that was her plan.
Somewhere along the line, she decides to move to Atlanta to see if she likes it and decides to buy the car there. The beginning of the new year finds her in Atlanta celebrating the new year with Jason, the 31 year old ex-football player she met on an airplane. Her relationship with Jason is put on hold when she meets Matthew, the 24 year old finance manager at the car dealership. Sparks fly and they become a couple...or bed buddies...friends with benefits? Okay, fine. She becomes his sugar mama.
I'm all for women getting their cougar on, but don't be stupid about it. By day two she was professing her love for him. Seriously, I had to rewind the CD to make sure I had the timeline correct. So you're 43, you're with a 24 year old, fine. But then you berate him every chance you get about the differences in your ages and sound like his mother instead of his girlfriend. Why are you with him again?
So what follows from that is almost six hours of a storyline where it's apparent that this woman is in lust, wouldn't know love if it smacked her in broad daylight, suffers from low self-esteem and isn't naive, just shallow and stupid. Mix in a two minute PSA about the plight of the homeless, a project Oleana considered taking on during her sabbatical that was briefly highlighted but never mentioned again, and Jason's prostate cancer that took up the last 30 minutes of the set and you have a hot pile of steaming mess.
Oh and if you haven't figured it out yet, the 24 year old she was dating turned out to be the son of the man that ditched her for his pregnant, pre-med fiancee back in college. I almost forgot, Oleana decided to become a writer at some point in her sabbatical and it turns out there was a writer's agent that lived in her building that read her book and loved it. Did I mention that the mortgage on the condo she purchased was $ 12,000 a month? Ma'am? A $ 4 million condo on a salesperson turned author's salary? The ridiculousness just never ends!
What did you like about this book?
What didn't you like about this book?
Oleana Day learned not one thing. She was the same silly girl as a grown woman that she was in high school and college. There were so many things that the author seemed to throw in for no apparent reason: the suicide of her high school boyfriend, color issues, etc.
What could the author do to improve this book?
Flesh out a better storyline, make the timeline more realistic, give readers at least one character to like and stop writing to meet deadline. It was obvious that this story wasn't thought out. And don't use songs in your book when you obviously haven't listened to the lyrics. During a fight with Matthew, Oleana keeps referencing a Lauryn Hill song "Nothing Even Matters," which would have been relevant if she was professing her love for him instead of spitting it out at him in anger and accusation. Do your homework people!
Listening time: 11 hours, 59 minutes
Published January 2009
Theme: Nothing Even Matters by Lauryn Hill and D'Angelo