Pinch Me: A Novel by Adena Halpern (Touchstone, $14.99, 288 pages)
“And you thought your life was cursed!”
“Never marry a man unless he’s short, bald, fat, stupid, and treats you badly.” Grandma Dolly, 82 and Mother Selma, 55
Imagine meeting the man (or woman) of your dreams: successful, intelligent, loyal, charming, attractive, and who wants nothing more but to spend the rest of your life taking care of you. Does this sound too good to be true? Well, for the main character in Adena Halpern’s novel, Pinch Me, it is.
Lily Burns has spent her twenty’s dating the wrong men… on purpose. Throughout her life she has been advised to date someone who she would never love so that the family curse, created generations before she was born, would not do unthinkable things to the men she loved. Witnessing what her mother, Selma, and grandmother, Dolly had gone through, Lily takes this advice seriously. Then she meets Gogo, a handsome, successful pediatrician who adores her and asks for her hand in marriage. For once ignoring her family’s advice, she marries Gogo and in desperation to prove she has beaten the curse, she asks her new husband to pinch her. And the curse begins. The story takes us on Lily’s hilarious and somewhat sad journey to get her husband back while undoing the family curse for good!
I have to admit that I initially thought the theme of this story was hokey and I was hard pressed to believe it would live up to the standards set by the novels I have recently reviewed. However, I was quickly made optimistic by the author’s direct and flowing dialogue, and the enticing storyline that began on page one and continued throughout the novel. This was a fun and lighthearted tale and I was entertained to the end.
Halpern kept my attention with Lily – her strong-willed main character – and her quirky but loving mother and grandmother. I read the story in two short sittings, cheering for Lily and Gogo and I began to wonder if perhaps we all hold some family curse brought on by something we or our predecessors may have done in the past.
I found myself laughing out loud while reading Pinch Me, especially throughout the conversation that takes place between Lily’s mother Selma and grandmother Dolly as they try to convince Lilly that she should not get married (that conversation alone is worth your time!). It is a quick read and downright fun. I will definitely be reading more from Adena Halpern.
A review copy was provided by the publisher. Pinch Me was released on July 19, 2011.