Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction
Approximate word count: 85-90,000 words
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A native of New Jersey, Dee Ernst starting writing stories on a typewriter in her pre-teen years. Graduating from high school, she was set on a career that involved writing. After many false starts over many years in journalism, education, and other related fields, she heard a radio guest say that if you didn’t know what you wanted to do with your life to remember what you enjoyed when you were ten and find a way to make it into a career. This book is part of the result of acting on that advice.
For more, visit Ernst’s website.
“Mona Berman is an expert at Happily Ever After – after all, she’s a best-selling Romance writer and happy endings are what she does best. So when her husband of twenty years leaves her for somebody 15 years younger, 20 pounds lighter, and French, she’s got a lot of adjusting to do, both personally and professionally. Lucky for her she’s got three savvy teen daughters, a few good friends, and Ben, the world’s sexiest plumber, to help her along the way.”
Better Off Without Him is one of the funniest chick-lit books I’ve read in recent memory. Ernst starts with a great cast of characters: the protagonist, Mona, is a strong woman with a great talent for recognizing the humor in life, even in negative experiences. She has to be, with her three teenage daughters, each with unique personalities that keep Mona guessing and with the typical teen problems of being on the cusp of adulthood (with some very adult like insights), yet still needing parental direction. Mona’s friends each have their own quirks that spice up the story as they provide Mona support.
As Mona works through her own issues with her soon-to-be-ex and eases into life as an unattached woman, she changes her next book from Romance to something else, which turns out to be a book that mirrors and foreshadows many of her own experiences. Despite docking a star for many minor, but too pervasive proofing problems, I would still highly recommend Better Off Without Him for fans of the genre who are able to ignore those issues.
Some adult language and sexual situations although never explicit.
A large number of minor proofing and copy-editing misses. These include missing little words and incorrect words due to typos (i.e. ‘if’ instead of ‘of’, ‘though’ instead of thought’).
Rating: **** Four stars