She’s Gone Country: A Novel by Jane Porter (5 Spot; $13.99; 384 pages)
Coping with imposed life changes is the main theme for Jane Porter’s new novel, She’s Gone Country. The central character, Shey Darcy, is an almost-forty-year-old former fashion model whose image appeared in Vogue and in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Shey’s glamorous life in New York City is cut short when her husband declares that he’s gay and wants a divorce.
What follows is a sprint back to Shey’s roots in Texas. She takes her two sons to live in her mom’s house on a sprawling family-owned ranch in a bid to feel more secure. This is a tale of growing up to reality and grasping a sense of how to navigate life when the veneer of New York life’s distractions is peeling away.
Author Jane Porter presents the story in a stream of consciousness first person narrative in the present tense. Shey is stuck in her feelings about the life she has been forced to leave behind. She dwells on her husband’s betrayal, the trials of motherhood and her very shaky self-image. Shey’s monologue is often repetitive, and it is a perfect example of self-talk by the mind vs. being in the now, as detailed in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now. Shey loses her way, her sense of now and she’s stuck trying to cope with her brain chatter.
An odd combination of contrasts crop up throughout the story. Men are generally described as hunky or highly attractive, and comfortable with old cars and the peeling paint on the Texas ranch house where Shey lives. Women are depicted less charitably. Porter describes their actions and fashion choices in a way that is just shy of brutal.
The notion of raising boys is foreign to this reviewer, but Jane Porter is the mother of three boys. She makes it seem like a lot more work than having girls. Even though the story is told in the first person, the feelings and actions of the other characters are well-developed. This is especially true for Shey’s two sons. Each has his own personality and needs as together they struggle with having been uprooted from post private school city life and plopped down onto a small country setting.
Since this book is clearly of the chic lit genre, it was amazing to this reviewer that the most sympathy and tears were brought out by someone other than the main character – who knew?
This is a most enjoyable read for women of a certain age. Recommended.
This review was written by Ruta Arellano. A review copy was provided by Hachette Book Group U.S.A. She’s Gone Country was released by 5 Spot on August 23, 2010.