Time Off for Good Behavior Paperback – Oct 1 2004
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There is no shortage of bad luck in Wanda Lane's life. She loses her advertising sales job while she is in the hospital recuperating from a head injury. Her abusive and drunken ex-husband has been leaving threatening messages, and she can't get a phantom tune out of her head. Yet she is not exactly a sympathetic character. A litany of bad breaks has left her spiteful and complaining. Even so, Wanda manages to attract the attention of a handsome, widowed lawyer who only wants to protect her, but before she lets herself fall in love, she needs to get her life in order. A bizarre want ad lands her a new friend (and unofficial therapist), and with her help, Wanda decides to do something meaningful. Readers will warm to Wanda as she mends broken relationships, finds a fulfilling job, and learns to open her heart. First-time author Rich has managed to skillfully blend serious topics with humor, and readers will love her for it. Aleksandra Kostovski
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"Terrific and absolutely hilarious...with a thoroughly original and delightful heroine."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I so enjoyed how she forbid herself from seeing Walter before she'd worked through some difficult issues. She knew he'd accept her as she was, but she had to make some hard changes first. She may have thought of herself as weak, but I found her to be a strong character throughout.
Overall, a very fun read. I should have counted the number of times I laughed out loud. I know for sure I read with a grin on my face because my husband kept asking, "What is so funny?" as I read it. The hot pink cover caught my eye in the bookstore, and I'm glad it did!
Wanda's journey of self-discovery rings refreshingly true and genuine and illuminates the teeth-gnashing frustrations that life hands us, as well as the moments of grace we somehow manage to stumble into.
Definitely an exciting new voice in women's fiction!
But in order to "earn" Walter's love, Wanda feels that she must improve herself. Wanda is not exactly a model of decency. She drinks. A lot. And she curses like a sailor. She does not think before she opens her mouth, and she tends to be self-centered. One could argue she's in need of therapy, which she gets from a local Catholic priest who doles out advice though she's not a member of his flock ("Bless me father for I am not Catholic). With the help of a new friend she found in a want-ad, she decides to create a series of post-it notes, and as she has completed the task, she tosses them out. The most important one - the one she cannot figure out what it means - is "do something meaningful."
As she tries to find herself, perfect widower Walter patiently waits for her to have an epiphany. It is hard to fathom a man as articulate and together as Walter falling for the train wreck that is Wanda, so there was a real disconnect in the romance for this reader. But her voyage of self-discovery peppered with some of the wittiest dialogue and interesting secondary characters to grace a page make this a worthwhile read. This is Rich's first novel and her subsequent novels prove what a gifted storyteller she is.
It starts out like your typical romance novel, down-on-her-luck heroine meets handsome hero.
But Wanda is just too passive for me, never standing up for herself, just running to the next savior. When she's threatened by her ex husband, she never thinks about getting a gun to protect herself or anything, she just takes shelter somewhere else. She's just too much of a damsel in distress for me, depending on virtual strangers to take her in.
She's got a mouth on her, that's for sure, just no actions to follow it up with.
And then there's the missing romance...not that I like my protagonists to be going at it like rabbits, but a little sex is OK. I like more than "We did it 3 times" as a description.
Overall, I was disappointed because the story starts out very interesting. Unfortunately it then loses steam and limps along, with a kind of 12-step program for the protagonist that didn't make much sense to me.