Review: Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook

      “Poor little you. You’ve got it so bad. All you’re after is sympathy. Well, you can find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis, and it’ll do you about as much good.”

     “Eww,” I said. “Don’t you dare ask me to write that down.”
Deidre Griffin is more than just an ordinary wallflower — she’s her families’ indispensable go-to girl and doormat. She lives in the shadow of her charismatic, New Age guru brother Tag—think Deepak Chopra meets Bono—and literally in the shadow of his home (she in a converted sheep-shed, he in the mansion). Though Tag employs his entire family, Deidre is the woman behind the curtain who runs all aspects of his business and life—by sacrificing her own.
When her long-term sometimes boyfriend announces he’s going to marry his knocked-up current fling, Deidre does what every woman would want to do: she rams him with her brother’s golf cart. Fueled by disappointment and disgrace, she tries to drown her worries in a Ben & Jerry’s Triple Caramel Chunk/chocolate soy milk/vodka milkshake. The next morning she discovers she *might* have taken advantage of Tag’s vast social network to vote herself into a coveted role on Dancing With the Stars.
Once the DWTS producer starts calling, Deidre realizes she may have conned her way into her opportunity of a lifetime. She decides to hideout in Hollywood, thinking she can escape her family, learn a few dance steps, and drop a few pounds before they realize she’s a fraud. A  fabulously talented dance partner, a new love interest (who still liked her after accidentally catching her in her rattiest underwear), and meddling ex-Deadhead family members round out the zany cast of characters on Deidre’s journey.
So many of us lose ourselves in our family. This delightful story is a daydream for millions of women who fantasize about breaking out, breaking a leg, and doing something just for themselves. Readers will cheer her on as she strives to learn her dance steps and battles her urges to inhale every junk food in sight. (When in doubt, eat. When in eat doubt.)
Playing into the whole Facebook, Twitter, and Dancing With the Starts frenzy, Wallflower in Bloom is a lively, timely read. I am embarrassed to admit I discovered the magic of Claire Cook books only a few months ago, and I am rushing to catch up on her past novels. Reading them is like settling into your most comfortable chair with your favorite romantic comedy movie or novel. Easy. Funny. Heartwarming.
On a side note: I also admit I’ve never watched DWTS. ::Cue gasps:: Okay, I did watch once when Heather Mills was on—I had to see how Sir Paul’s ex could foxtrot with a prosthetic leg—quite well, actually. Though I’m not a reality TV fan, Wallflower in Bloom gave me new insight into the work that goes on behind-the-scenes of the show. I still don’t know if I’ll ever watch it, but I absolutely will pick up Claire Cook’s next book.
Peace in, peace out.
by Claire Cook
257 pages
Touchstone
*Wallflower in Bloom is the She Reads Book Club August selection.  Check out SheReads.org  for author interviews and book club discussions.
**I received this complimentary book from SheReads.org. All opinions are my own.

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