Sunday, September 25, 2016

Identity Crisis? - The Real Liddy James (review)

TITLE: The Real Liddy James
AUTHOR: Anne-Marie Casey
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam's Sons
PUBLISHING DATE: September 20, 2016

FROM GOODREADS: Forty-four, fit, and fabulous, Liddy James is one of New York’s top divorce attorneys, a bestselling author, and a mother of two. Armed with a ruthless reputation and a capsule wardrobe, she glides through the courtrooms and salons of the Manhattan elite with ease. What’s her secret? Liddy will tell you: “I don’t do guilt!”

This is the last thing literature professor Peter James wants to hear. Devastated by his divorce from Liddy six years earlier, the two have a tangled history his new partner, Rose, is only just sorting out. But Rose is a patient woman with faith in a well-timed miracle and she’s determined to be sympathetic to Peter’s plight. Together, Liddy, Peter, and Rose have formed a modern family to raise Liddy and Peter’s truculent teen and Liddy’s darling, if fatherless, six-year-old.

But when Rose announces she’s pregnant, Liddy’s nanny takes flight, the bill for a roof repair looms, and a high-profile divorce case becomes too personal, Liddy realizes her days as a guilt-free woman might be over. Following a catastrophic prime-time TV interview, she carts her sons back to Ireland to retrace their family’s history. But marooned in the Celtic countryside things are still far from simple, and Liddy will have to come to terms with much more than a stormy neighbor and an unorthodox wedding if she ever hopes to rediscover the real Liddy James.

Fun, fearless, and full of heart, The Real Liddy James takes a fresh look at the balancing act every family performs. With the deft characterization and sharp wit that made her first novel an international bestseller, Anne-Marie Casey invites us into the ambitions, passions, and misadventures of this extraordinary heroine.

"The Real Liddy James" is all about a woman who has it all (or at least seems to) and the toll it takes on her life. Liddy is a prominent divorce lawyer in a high profile Manhattan law firm. When she's not working, she's writing how-to books, doing publicity for the law firm, or basically promoting herself in one way or form. Liddy has two children. Matty, a teen, is being primarily raised by her ex-husband Peter and his girlfriend Rose, and Cal is primarily being raised by the nanny. While Liddy has tons of responsibility ranging from work, paying for Matty's expensive school, paying alimony/child support to Peter, and covering his girlfriend Rose's medical expenses, it all centers around her status and job and has little to do with Liddy - the person. The main problem is that Liddy doesn't know how to take care of herself, let alone her family, and it eventually takes its toll in a very public manner. This leads to Liddy taking a sabbatical and moving with the children to Ireland for the summer with no electronics and no real clue what she is doing.

I found "The Real Liddy James" to be en enjoyable read, but it didn't really stand out for me. Most of the book I didn't even like Liddy and it took something bad happening to her before I really felt much of an attachment to her character at all. I thought I liked Peter and Rose, which made the book somewhat more interesting, but looking back, I don't really think I liked them much either. All of the main characters in the book are either too needy, too self-centered, too whiny or too irritating for my liking. However, I did like Casey's writing style and once I got into the story, it turned out to be a quick read.

I do like the message "The Real Liddy James" sends. Working too hard to "have it all" often comes with a cost, even if it's just to those around us. Liddy, Peter and Rose came across as real life people with real life problems and I didn't find Casey really sugarcoating anything that happened to any of them. However, I found that in the end, I didn't really care what happened to Liddy. I guess I was expecting this book to be a sort of "Bridget Jones" read but it definitely lacked any humor or snark which tends to make contemporaries or chick-lit bearable for me. I'm sure a lot of people will enjoy this book and it wasn't a bad read, I guess I just wasn't in the mood for women's fiction when I read it.

I received this book from the Penguin First to Read program in exchange for an honest review.



  1. Sounds interesting though not sure it's for me. Great review! :)

  2. Sorry this one didn't stand out for you. Honestly, it doesn't sound intriguing to me so I'll definitely pass. Terrific review though! :D

  3. Sorry this wasn't a standout for you. Great review!