As regular readers of my blog already know, I've spent the fall taking a memoir writing class and I'm also on a kick with reading memoirs. I saw Melissa Kite's The Art of Not Having it All on Netgalley and it caught my eye. Thank you to St. Martin's Press for approving me for an advanced copy of this entertaining memoir.
Plot - Forty-something conservative columnist Melissa Kite writes about her wild adventures in her pursuit of love. After jilting her fiancé, Kite finds herself having trouble nailing down her perfect man.
She is a strong woman, but she would love to have a man who can fix her plumbing and program her remote control, in addition to being her soul mate. Through the course of the book, Kite begins to realize the differences between what she thinks she needs and what she really requires in a partner. One of the biggest telling moments is when she finds herself on a helicopter being whisked off to a fancy lunch with an eccentric married millionaire and she realizes that this is making her uncomfortable.
Kite's books is filled with many colorful characters, including the men she dates and her female friends. She is clearly the sane one in the bunch. My favorite part of the book is when Kite recounts going on a girls weekend riding holiday and they get completely lost. The women are loathe to admit that they are clueless, which makes the situation even funnier. I laughed out-loud several times and I enjoyed the mention of Newbury, my husband's hometown.
Like - Kite is genuinely funny. She comes from a serious journalistic background, but this book reminds me more of something Chelsea Handler might write. I had not previously heard of Kite, but when I looked her up, I was surprised that she isn't a comedienne. Kite comes across as an "everywoman" and although she is looking for a partner, she is a modern single-girl, going on vacations with her friends and generally living a fabulous life. She is strong and even if she doesn't find love, you know that she will be okay. She's somewhat of a real-world hybrid of Carrie Bradshaw and Brigitte Jones. The strong characters, crazy scenarios and funny writing, kept me reading.
Dislike - Occasionally the stories ran long and by the end of the chapter, my interest was waning. As with many memoir or anthology books, some stories were more entertaining than others. I really favored the stories where Kite was vacationing with friends, but less so when she was going on dates. My dislikes in no way eclipsed my overall enjoyment of Kite's book.
Recommend - Yes. This is a fun, lighthearted memoir and I'd especially recommend it to single-women looking to commiserate. Kite has more bad dates than any single woman should ever have to endure. I connected with Kite's general message of "Having it all comes in different packages" and really, nobody "has it all". What does it mean to "have it all" anyways? Shape your life that way you want it, live it and be happy.