Six Weeks to Toxic Paperback – Apr 25 2007
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Face it, were in the midst of a ChickLit epidemic. These are the signs: The central character is heading for her mid-30s; she works in film or journalism; she needs to get her life sorted (man, marriage, maybe a kid) and pronto. Parents are stereotypes-the phoney rich, the cosy suburbanites, the ex-hippies; a celebrity makes an appearance-this bit is mandatory. In magazine writer (Flare, Fashion) Louisa McCormacks debut, theres a twist. She throws the stresses of female friendship into the stew, as the challenges of being in ones thirties split apart two close friends between New Years Day and Valentines.
Bess, our narrator, is a short, carrot-topped sound artist (she creates background noises like footsteps on Toronto film shoots); her friend Maxine (Maxi) is a tall, dark, well-off magazine journalist. Shes also a control freak, and we soon wonder why the self-deprecating Bess tiptoes around this creature. Loyalty, certainly; pity, maybe, perhaps even fear. Bess takes great care not to outshine Maxi. Since most of us have found ourselves lumbered with dreadful friends at one point or another, McCormack deserves full points for exploring this theme. She also writes with verve and originality about sex, a refreshing change amid the hangovers, bright chatter and partying endemic to the genreBesss honesty and wit render her charming. Her post-millennium depression manifests itself as [her] electron mood-denied access to a nucleus, incessantly peripheral, lone and stray and tiny. This may be why the Bess-Maxi friendship has endured sixteen years; they have only each other. But deeper meanings are submerged amid the snap, crackle, and pop of McCormacks prose. Sometimes its funny, sometimes not, as when the two friends grind out their private college-era parodies of womens magazines. Still, theres something here, some mystery about female dynamics that will speak to young women.
Besss honesty and wit render her charming. Her post-millennium depression manifests itself as [her] electron mood-denied access to a nucleus, incessantly peripheral, lone and stray and tiny. This may be why the Bess-Maxi friendship has endured sixteen years; they have only each other. But deeper meanings are submerged amid the snap, crackle, and pop of McCormacks prose. Sometimes its funny, sometimes not, as when the two friends grind out their private college-era parodies of womens magazines. Still, theres something here, some mystery about female dynamics that will speak to young women.
Nancy Wigston (Books in Canada)
-- Books in Canada
Breezy and compelling. -- Flare magazine
Six Weeks to Toxic insists it's a treatise on the complex character of female friendship and the writing, to be sure, is smart. -- Vancouver Sun
Six Weeks to Toxic is a sharp, sexy and witty read that delves into the female psyche. -- Weekly Scoop
Six Weeks to Toxic is the thinking girl's chick-lit. McCormack is a quick and deft writer. -- The Globe and Mail
Tales of relationship dilemmas, awkward parental visits and botched dinner parties are peppered with laugh-out-loud moments. Just right for a lazy afternoon. -- WISH magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
LOUISA MCCORMACK writes regularly for Flare and FASHION. She was a host of “The Chatroom” on TalkTV, and has also contributed to CBC Newsworld and CBC Radio One. McCormack was born in Montreal, Quebec, and now lives in Toronto, Ontario.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately the ending seemed anti-climactic to me. I knew from the title and description of the book that it was about a break up between two best friends so I kept expecting a huge outburst at some point which I suppose sort of came at the end, but it just seemed, well, anti-climactic. After having finished the book, I thought it might have been the point to have things go the way they did (sorry, not trying to ruin the ending here) because of their personalities, especially Bess's who seems to tip toe around Maxi. And, how do relationships between best friends normally end? This had me questioning many of my past relationships and I concluded that the gradual decent was appropriate as some of my toxic relationships ended similarly. And I think I've said far too much now!
I enjoyed the Toronto details of course and thought that Bess's career as a sound artist in the movie industry was interesting and the details were just enough to be informative without being overbearing and it was a nice change of pace for a chick lit novel. I quite liked some of the other characters and although I didn't like him in the beginning, Bess's love interest grew on me quickly.
I will definitely read Louisa McCormack's next novel `The Catch' at some point!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
MacCormack also creates characters are also quirky and interesting, and her witty take on life in downtown Toronto is brilliant.
Can't wait to see what else she writes, and I will never look at friendships, or the ending of them, the same way....
The thing is, I hardly ever give up on a book before finishing--and, most importantly, a good friend of mine and I have been recently having problems, so I figured I'd benefit from reading about two long-term friends who, in just six weeks, end their relationship.
But there's nothing to learn from "Six Weeks to Toxic"--other than the fact that Ms. McCormack can't write, can't create a single sympathetic (or interesting) character, and that her idea of snappy dialogue goes along these lines:
"Please, Maxi? I really want to do Marcus a favour and it's hard to swing that, he's so forward-thinking."
"Well, you've really got me cornered, Bess, So I'll do it. But each walk counts as a separate favour."
"Thanks so much. I love you. Your wish is my etcetera."
Add a ridiculous ending, with a friendship that dissolves over nothing (a spat that in real life, people would laugh at in a day, if not less) and you have the most ridiculous, pointless, and horrible book I have read in a long time. Even though it's only 268 pages, it also felt as one of the longest.
It's my fault that I wasted my time reading "Six Weeks to Toxic." Don't make the same mistake.