The Balance Thing Paperback – Sep 5 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
In her chick lit debut (following two murder mysteries), Dumas, a Bay Area software exec, struggles admirably to create a heroine who's lovable but empowered. Becks Mansfield is a tough software marketer walking a fine line in San Francisco's tenuous postboom economy. After yet another company's restructuring leaves her without a job (and, by her estimation, a life), "date-lazy" Becks finally takes the advice of her trio of fashion-forward friends—sunny surfer girl Vida, obsessive-compulsive bride-to-be Connie and dermatologist/theater queen Max (he's a guy)—and applies her ambitions to the romantic realm. The fab foursome launch on a journey of designer cocktails and spa treatments, as dates and Connie's dreaded "destination wedding" in London loom. Becks also juggles a job search with what she considers to be well-paid hackwork: recording the voice of Vladima, a goth cult hero of the animated undead. The dialogue is breezy and believable, but Becks dissects her work life in tedious detail as she gets more involved in Vladima—and her creator, Josh. When forced to decide between the job opportunity of a lifetime and her commitment to Vladima (and, natch, to Josh), Becks must stop and ask herself a pressing question: "Was marketing cool?" (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Becks Mansfield is passionate about one thing: her career. So you don't want to be the man who gets in her way: she's a dedicated dumper. But when a series of dot-com bombs leaves her unemployed, Becks is at loose ends. She does have work as the voice of the animated vampire-heroine Vladima, but that's not exactly the step on the corporate ladder she hoped to take. Plus, the hard-to-ignore chemistry with Vladima's nerdy-but-cute creator is making this side job a bit more complicated. It's the classic struggle between personal and professional fulfillment reimagined as a romantic comedy about life and work in San Francisco after the bubble burst. Dumas writes with easy wit about dating, job interviewing, bridesmaiding, and all the other pursuits of a modern single woman. Although she isn't mining much new territory, she does win points for likable characters. Aleksandra Kostovski
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Really missed illustrations from Vladima at the start of each chapter -- don't know if they're planned for the final version, but they should be!! I found myself thinking at the end of each chapter about what quick cell could have been drawn of Vladima to kick off the chapter... at the very least a page or two at the end of the manuscript, perhaps of Vladima & her Doctor critiquing/discussing Josh & Becks.
Cover didn't reflect the book at all, title yes, but book cover design was completely random, not at all related to the story... v. odd choice in my opinion.
It's fun to live vicariously through Becks - though at times you definitely want to smack her on the forehead when she's about to do something silly. Luckily, her friends in the story help keep things in balance.
I found this book to be terribly addictive and a wonderful read over a weekend. It would've been a great beach-read if it wasn't so cold out right now! ;)