Monday, August 8, 2011

Ten Good Reasons to Lie About Your Age / Stephanie Zia

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Kindle US:
YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


A former documentary researcher and producer for the BBC, Stephanie Zia has also written for a variety of publications. She was the long-time “cleaning guru” for The Guardian newspaper’s Space Solves column. Zia has written several books, fiction and non-fiction, although only this book and a couple of her non-fiction books are available for your eReader. For more information, visit Zia’s blog.


Suddenly widowed, Sally Lightfoot’s life seems without direction or purpose. Her husband is gone and she is no longer helping him run the business he owned, a music studio. Her kids are grown and living on their own. After years of work and parenting, Sally is adrift, with no idea what comes next.


Most definitions of the “coming of age” story involve a youth’s transformation into adulthood. Although not as dramatic, there are other changes later in life that are equally , and often more, traumatic. For some, retirement is like this. I could tell you some horror stories about former significant others and empty nest syndrome. For Sally Lightfoot it is primarily widowhood at a relatively young age.

The struggles Sally goes through are not unlike those of a young person in the typical coming of age story. There are issues of sex and romance. Is she ready? Will she ever be ready? There are concerns with finances and what she’ll do for a job.

Ten Good Reasons to Lie About Your Age got off to a slow start for me. As the story progressed and Sally started interacting more with people beyond her children and a small number of others, the story picked up steam. As this happened, her story also became more humorous, rather than just sad, and I began rooting for her to find her new equilibrium and, hopefully, happiness. As with a coming of age story, those who are going through a similar situation can take comfort in the fact that the difficulties are universal. Those who have already been there (and those convinced they never will) can laugh at Sally’s foibles.


The author is British and uses UK spellings and slang. Although I read many books by UK and Aussie writers and, as those who frequent Books and Pals know, don’t have issues with that, I found this book harder to understand. It felt like the author used less slang than many and it isn’t a problem with grammar. The best explanation I can give is that it is one of style, with words put together correctly, but maybe how they were put together and some word choices felt unnatural to me. I am almost certain this is not a problem with the writing, but with the reader. If this book appeals to you, sampling first might be a good idea.

This book contains some sexual content that might not be suitable for younger readers.

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: **** Four stars


Jake Hardman said...

I really appreciate your objectivity about this author’s writing style. I’ve never read her, but as she writes for The Guardian I’d expect her to be able to write well. Although she doesn’t use a lot of slang, it might well be an American vs British English stylistic issue. Although I love many American authors – Michael Connolly and Robert Crais in particular – I find Jonathan Kellerman difficult to understand for this very reason.

Regards Jake

BooksAndPals said...

I think it is exactly that kind of thing, Jake. Thanks for your comment.

Louise Voss said...

I agree, it's good to read such an objective and considered review of a book that I really enjoyed too. The character of Sally Lightfoot stayed with me for a long time after I finished it - you're right, you do find yourself rooting for her. A particularly great read for anyone, like me, who loves Leonard Cohen!

Louise Voss
(Co-author of Killing Cupid and Catch Your Death)

Alexa O said...

It's not important to the quality of the story, I know, but I love the title. Between the title and the cover, I knew exactly what genre the book was going to be, and your review confirmed it.

I think I will check this one out, thanks!