Friday, January 20, 2017

Review: THE PHILISTINE HEART by Jean Evergreen

 “After I had declared my independence from corporate America, I was confident I would never again have to take another trivial, soul-crushing position. No more incompetent bosses, nonsensical office politics, bothersome co-workers, or dedication to pointless projects that I cared nothing about. I was finally free… Free to create my own path, live my passions, to feel like I exist, that I’m not merely dream walking through life.

“Now, two years later, with the reality of going broke only weeks away, I’m forced to accept a position at a marketing agency where I make only a fraction of what I did at my last job. After all of my efforts to exit the rat race I’m back at the beginning. And I’m aptly reminded of the wise words from Sinatra: that’s life. Sometimes life’s not about passion or dreams, but rather having a roof over your head and food on the table. It’s about staying in the race long enough to eventually get ahead. And surviving the race long enough to reach the finish line. But then, who really wants to reach the finish line? That’s a depressing thought.” (13)

Right of the bat, Bridget becomes a relatable and endearing character that tells it like it is.

“If all the world is a stage, then I’ve been typecast to play the same role for every performance: quiet, diffident girl with a sunny disposition.” (13)

“What’s this about Photoshop? Now I’m a graphic designer? I really should have read the job description better. That’s what I hate about these lower level jobs. There’s never a clear definition of my duties. I’m expected to do whatever they throw at me even if I’m wholly unqualified. Five o’clock can’t come soon enough.” (13)

Well-written, frank, and witty!  

“I can’t help but distrust a person who always appears upbeat and happy — it just seems unnatural. In the back of my mind, I wonder what ugly muck is hidden behind all that glaring sunshine. What kind of person am I really talking to?” (22)

The reader will stand by Bridget as she trudges through the mundane office life, trying to get by while trumping those who wish to ruin her. On the outside, she plays the confident, self-assured business woman; but, on the inside, she’s fragile and unsure. She likes to keep things simple, especially with her long-distance boyfriend. Fearful of commitment and intimacy, she has no desire for marriage or family, and has virtually no idea what this relationship is, especially when she and Blake are so different. I found it so hilarious how their impromptu romp in the sack lasted only three minutes, leaving Bridget disappointed and unfulfilled. Classic!

She definitely can’t stand the fakeness of society, but she presents it with such eloquent finesse. Yes, she has her issues and her own dark skeletons from her past (who doesn’t?), but you can’t help but admire her boldness and tenacity.

“The very idea that passion and love should go hand in hand is a plot sold by Harlequin romance novels. It’s a fantasy ideal, a fiction notion. I live my life in reality, not bound between the pages of a book. In real life, you take love where you can get it because it is a rare thing indeed.” (29)

The best thing about Bridget is that she’s honest with herself—about her flaws, her fears, her inhibitions. Written in a diary-format, this story relays the candid thoughts of a hopeless, misanthropic woman, who wonders if there’s more to life than meets the eye. She has more than she can take with office banalities, a co-worker’s wedding, and “Christmas Spirit Week” filled with “inane chit chat and exaggerated friendliness.” Yep, Bridget definitely has the philistine heart, and you’ll love her for it.  But it would seem she has a soft spot for an alluring man, who makes her feel that she doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. Then she realizes that he’s not perfect either. The past comes back to haunt us all.

Smart, savvy, and entertaining! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll say, “Yep, life happens.”

My rating: 5 stars

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