Fishbowl Paperback – Oct 1 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Allie is a perky 22-year old virgin with a hopeless crush. Emma is a free-spirited fashion editor's assistant who parties with a vengeance. Jodine is a responsible law student who makes efficiency an art form. The question is: can this odd trio can live together in a Toronto apartment without driving one another crazy? The answer is probably not, but what they can do is build friendships none of them ever anticipated. Mlynowski, following last year's Milkrun, delivers another fun piece of fluff about post-college 20-somethings trying to figure it all out as they struggle with fledgling careers, the opposite sex and financial woes. Considerable woes, in fact. Somehow, the new roommates must devise a plan to replace their kitchen, which has burned to a crisp. Each character takes her turn telling the story in alternating chapters, and the reader never mistakes one voice for another. When Allie is asked if she could be pregnant after a bout of nausea, she thinks, "Maybe it is morning sickness and I'm carrying Jesus II." Jodine considers her roommates "a munchkin and a truck driver." While making a list of past sexual partners, Emma asks her roomies, "Can I have another piece of paper?" A fourth narrator, in omniscient third-person, is not always as funny as intended, but reminds the reader of important plot points ("Do you remember the effect alcohol has on her when she gets drunk? She's like a librarian in a porno movie.") Mlynowski delivers a solid if formulaic roommate caper.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* Mlynowski's second novel is a pleasant departure from the typical tale about young women searching for meaning and love in the big city. Roommates Allie, Jodine, and Emma are about as different as three people can be. Allie is enthusiastic but immature; Jodine is cold and closed-off; Emma is a stylish good-time girl. Despite the fact that they get on each other's nerves, they get along well enough, even after Jodine wakes up one night to discover that their kitchen is on fire. With no insurance, the girls are forced to come up with creative ways to raise money, including throwing big parties at a local bar and offering a seminar for men hoping to meet girls. Meanwhile, each roommate has her own man troubles: Allie pines for her friend, Clint, while the cute repairman flirts with her; Jodine is bored by her loyal boyfriend; and Emma has fallen for a sexy guy she meets at one of their parties, only to discover that she's smitten with Clint. Mlynowski wisely focuses the most on the girls' relationships with each other, creating fully dimensional characters and a terrific story. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top Customer Reviews
Jodine is an anal control freak, Emma is a uninhibited free spirit and Allie is teetering the delicate line between being a teenage and an adult. The three unlikely girls become roommates but not friends...not necessarily. The bond a bit after an accidental kitchen fire causes $10,000 worth of damage that they need to repair themselves or suffer the wrath of Carl the absent landlord.
After the kitchen fire- the story becomes a little predictable but none the less entertaining as they struggle to make money to pay for the repairs. In the process one roommate falls for the other roommate's crush, one roommate acts out a fantasy with a bartender and ruins a relationship she didn't know she had, one roommate finds real love. But will their relationship as friends survive? That you will have to read to find out.
I think my biggest problem with this book was the author's inability to give each of these women a distinct voice. Allie, at some times (such as when she's observing Manny and Jodine cuddling on the couch) sounds a lot like Emma. In turn, Emma often sounds like Jodine (and, as an aside, I know of no women who wear a size "0" yet have natural D cup breasts - that was a bit ridiculous). I didn't understand why, in her own voice, Allie came off as capable, if somewhat naive, yet in the chapters described by the others, she comes off as some complete moron. If Allie has "done everything but", why is she so freaked out about being a virgin? It's not as though she's never had a man pay attention to her, so why the sweet innocent never-been-touched routine?
Further, I felt that the author went to extremes with some of the character's actions. When Emma moves in, she promptly declares that she "has to s***" and then promptly removes herself to the main bathroom (when she is fully aware that she has her own bathroom) and leaves the door open? Come on - who actually acts like that? It just seemed so out of character for someone who is portrayed as ultimately feminine and sexy to do something so crass, just as the scene with Jodine snuggling with Manny on the couch with Allie in the room was inconsistent with her character.
All in all, a cute bath time read, but not one I would go around recommending. I believe the author could do better.
The Bad: The way these three people relate to each other is just too unbelievable! Usually, when three women who are THAT different from one another live together, they just keep to themselves and do their own thing. I couldn't believe for a minute that they would ever go out together, plan something together or even speak to one another!
The Ugly: Not one of these three women was likable. They were all quite irritating, actually. Although I enjoyed the book as a quick and somewhat fun read, I couldn't find one appealing quality out of any of the three main characters.
This is an okay novel. I enjoy reading this author's books so much---Milkrun was hilarious-that warrants a 3-star review nearly on it's own.
Shortly after the other two women move in, there is a fire that burns down the kitchen. Their landlord Carl is not around, and the girls --- who do not have insurance -- are determined to earn the thousands of dollars needed to return it to its original look. But they don't have much income between them, and they need to fix it fast.
They hit upon throwing holiday parties at a local bar, and hosting a seminar on picking up women. Allie sees this as the perfect way to make progress with Clint, a selfish jerk whom she is so sure is her soulmate. Emma has just broken up with Nick for the umpteenth time and hopes to pick up. And Jodine, who gets with her ex Manny from time to time, just wants to earn the cash to repair the kitchen.
The characters are not very likable (each chapter is told my separate protagonist, or by an omniscent narrator -- who does not really like the three girls either). You take a while to pick whom you are rooting for, because each girl is easily either yourself or other people you know. That's a clever writing trick in the end. And, as the story progresses, there is no right or wrong one to like, and you don't know who is a worthy friend or not. Not till the very end, anyway.
Most recent customer reviews
Amidst the many chick lit protagonists with established careers in fashion/law/TV/editing, it was nice to find heroines fresh out of university (or still a student) in the first... Read morePublished on Jan. 8 2008 by C. Cheung
I loved reading from 3 different aspects - Allie, Emma and Jodine. Some of their unspoken thoughts were so funny / sarcastic, etc... Read morePublished on March 19 2004
This book was actually one of the better chick lit books I read over the summer. I like how these three different girls came together, but other than that, I didn't find much of a... Read morePublished on March 17 2004
I already reviewed this book, but I forgot to mention one other thing that made it implausible. There is no way Jodine - a CANADIAN law student studying CANADIAN law would get a... Read morePublished on Feb. 6 2004
Fishbowl is a great book. It made me laugh out loud at various scenes and proved no matter how different people may seem they can still become friends. Read morePublished on Jan. 26 2004 by Janelle
I felt that I could completely relate to this story even thought I've never had a roommate before. You can definitely see characteristics of your girlfriends in each of the... Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2004 by Simply Retta
Fishbowl is such a good book! It's funny because it's so real to life. If you've ever had roomates you will understand what I mean. Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2004