Sunday, August 5, 2012

Review: Ten Girls to Watch: A Novel by Charity Shumway

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Original edition (July 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451673418
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451673418

Book Description

A funny and uplifting debut novel about stumbling through the early years of adulthood while taking (or not taking) the advice of the women who've gone before you. 

Dawn West is trying to make her way in New York City. She’s got an ex-boyfriend she can’t quite stop seeing, a writing career that’s gotten about as far as penning an online lawn care advice column, and a small hometown in Oregon that’s her last recourse if she can’t make next month’s rent.      So when Dawn lands a job tracking down the past winners of Charm magazine’s “Ten Girls to Watch” contest, she’s thrilled. Not only is she being paid to interview hundreds of fascinating women, but she’s also sharing office space with “Secret Agent Romance,” Charm’s resident dating columnist, and he just happens to be giving her butterflies.     As Dawn gets to know the life stories of these former winners, she’ll discover that success, love, and friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. And even more importantly, she’ll find that though those who have gone before us can be role models, ultimately, we each have to carve our own way.    Both an insightful look at the trajectory of female experience over the past fifty years and a witty coming of age story, Ten Girls to Watch introduces an unforgettable new voice in women’s fiction.

About The Author

 Charity Shumway received an MFA in Creative Writing from Oregon State University and a BA in English from Harvard University. Her writing has appeared in Glamour, where she reported on the fiftieth anniversary of the magazine’s “Top Ten College Women” contest, Ladies Home Journal, and Fitness, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

My Review

This delightful novel which was released on July 31st is a pleasure to read.  Charity Shumway has successfully captured the angst of a twenty something young woman trying to find her way as a writer in New York City.   Dawn was on a course to enter law school when she graduated but instead decided to give writing a try.  She spends quite a bit of time pondering her relationship/non-relationship with college boyfriend Robert.  Even though Robert has moved on she cannot get him out of her head and her heart.

Ten Girls to Watch is the central theme of the story.  This is an annual contest in the fictional magazine Charm.  Dawn is hired to track down the 50 years of winners and get their stories.  During this process Dawn not only has her eyes opened by what these women have accomplished, she starts to become empowered herself.  You really sympathize with Dawn and are cheering her on to find herself and find her self worth.

This is a very entertaining book.  It is well written.  It would be perfect for a woman's reading group. It also has prepared questions for a group at the end of the novel.  They say to write what you know and Ms. Shumway has successfully done this.


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