Friday, September 7, 2012

Book Review: Life Drawing for Beginners

Author: Roisin Meaney
Publication Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

From the author of Semi-Sweet comes a delightful new novel about the art of friendship, love, and (still) life.

When Audrey Matthews offers an evening class in life drawing, all she's looking for is a little extra pocket money and something to fill her Tuesday nights. So she hires a model and recruits five students - each of whom have their own reason for being there. For Zarek, a Polish immigrant, the class is a welcome distraction and a place to escape his dull cafe job and noisy roommate. Then there's the handsome, mysterious James who has moved to the small town of Carrickbawn looking for a new start for himself and his daughter. He's vowed to keep to himself, but then his interest in Jackie, the class model and single mom, takes a more personal turn.

While Audrey has just fallen in love -- with the adorable puppy in the window of the local pet shop. Will she be put off by the store's brusque owner or does she find out that his bark is worse than his bite? As the weeks pass, it becomes clear to the members of the drawing class that their fellow students aren't exactly who they seem...

I know nothing about drawing. I stick to reading and writing because, after all, that’s what I do best. I have always wished that I could draw and have often envied others who were very talented at it. I guess that is one thing that drew me in when reading an excerpt from this. This cover depicts a lovely redhead who appears to window shopping, and as a woman that’s an everyday thing with me. When I read the synopsis of the back cover of the book I was delighted to find that this life drawing class for beginners was made up on some pretty diverse and even humorous characters. I love multiple perspectives in any story!


This story is made up of a cast of characters who each come from diverse backgrounds and some are on a quest to find themselves, while others just need to feel a sense of belonging. Audrey Matthews, the lead character of the story, decides to start a class for beginners in life drawing. Yes, life drawing is one of those classes where a nude model stands, sits, or poses in the center of the classroom and everyone sketches what they see. Some of the characters know nothing about drawing and some just need a place to get away from reality for awhile. All in all they are a pretty interesting gang of characters and no story is better than the next, they are all fascinating!


This was another of the books in which I had never read the author’s previous works before. I was just very intrigued by the premise of the book and decided to contact the author for a review copy. Roisin’s writing has a habit to just flow, and that is always positive in the eyes of this reader! Her language and fluency were so vivid. She really knows how to tell a story. Let me give you a brief example of the elegance evoked in her writing. This quote comes from the main character, Audrey, when she is thinking of the oncoming winter months. “The thought of the winter months ahead didn’t alarm her. Winter brought big coal fires and deliciously spicy curries and rich meaty stews, or bowls of steaming soup to dip soft floury rolls into” (page 20). Her writing just constantly jumped off the page at me!


This story is told from the perspective of each character. So the voice changes every two pages or so and we see into the life of one character at a time. However, the way that this novel is written makes it very easy to understand. The characters are very easy to follow and you will always being able to tell who is talking and when the character perspective switches. My only complaint with this is that even though it was easy to tell which character was speaking, sometimes it was hard to remember what had already happened to which character. Keep in mind here you will be following about 7 or 8 different characters. Do not let this sway you. Each story is fascinating and you do not get whole stories at once. You must keep reading to find out what unfolds with each person involved! Some of the stories were heartbreaking and I wanted to hug the characters and tell them that eveyrthing would be ok. I get so caught up in books like this because I love how they all interact and their worlds begin to weave together.


A highly entertaining and light hearted read that made me smile and cry!! Stop by your local bookstore and pick up a copy today!


***A huge hug and thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review purposes and also to Roisin Meaney for allowing me to review her book***

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like a really cute book, I love these types of books. But for me the idea that the narrative changes every few pages discourages me. I find that I can't connect with a character when the voice is constantly changing.