Nerd in Transition: GOING IN CIRCLES by Pamela Ribon [BOOK WEEK]

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Nerd in Transition: GOING IN CIRCLES by Pamela Ribon [BOOK WEEK]


a blogumn by Kelly Kaboom Lett

What an odd occurrence that I have to write this blog on this day and send it in this week. It’s BOOK WEEK here at Fierce and Nerdy, which is great because coincidentally I was planning to write a book review this week’s edition of NiT. I made a promise to Pamela Ribon  a few weeks back that I would review her new novel GOING IN CIRCLES and post it on my little blog here. Once I finished the book I was ready to give it a solid thumbs up and insist that you all put it on your summer reading list. But then a couple things happened that I had to write about, one of which was hitting my 90 day smokeless date. I couldn’t let that pass with no recognition. Now that I have a week where I’m slightly less self-involved I can stick my thumbs up in the air and oh yeah, it so happens to be BOOK WEEK here at Fierce and Nerdy. Coincidence?

The book report: GOING IN CIRCLES is the story of Charlotte Goodman who is caught in the agony of marital indecision. Her husband of less then a year leaves suddenly one night only to return just as suddenly a few weeks later. His explanations for doubting the marriage? Well he doesn’t really have any, leaving Charlotte with sleepless nights and disturbing bathroom masturbation episodes. Soon Charlotte leaves, unable to deal with the great divide. She leaves the marriage reeling, yet not quite finished. Unable to turn to her parents for support and without any friends that aren’t connected to her husband. Charlotte gets lost in a fog and turns into a living ghost until an odd little goth woman befriends her at work. This friendship turns out to be of immeasurable importance, as most unique friendships do. Goth girl, Francesca, is like a bucket of cold water dumped on a hungover frat boy. She gets Charlotte out of her fugue in a number of ways, but the most important thing is that Francesca introduces Charlotte to Hard Broken.

Hard Broken is an adventurous woman who gets knocked down, beat up and gets right back up again. Hard Broken is tough and sexy, she has friends of all kinds and she is an athlete. Hard Broken is somebody that Charlotte Goodman never knew she could be; Hard Broken is Charlotte Goodman’s derby alter-ego. Through the rough and tumble world of roller derby Charlotte finds that while life may not always go perfect and as planned, it will always go on. She doesn’t have to get “it” right all the time. In fact falling down is a huge part of roller derby and it’s okay, just get the fuck back up and get fucking going again. This gives Charlotte the strength to get the fuck up and get fucking going again in her own life. After a year of indecision she is able to face her husband and come to an agreement. More importantly she is able to stand up to her own imperfections for maybe the first time and still feel strong, dare I say, even powerful.

This book surprised and delighted me, I actually laughed out loud. I don’t tend to do that while reading. I am a harsh critic and tend to avoid women’s lit for fear of cliches or just plain boredom. GOING IN CIRCLES is a fun mix of modern day slang and euphemisms mixed with class and interest. As a writer I was inspired to push myself out of proper phrases and into common American speech. As a reader I was comforted by reading about people I could truly identify with, people I actually know. So often women’s lit seems a mix of helpless, whiny  characters who find the perfect man, one that is somehow so much better than the scumbag who left them crying in a wedding dress while 7 months pregnant and right after their loving father died two days ago leaving only the overbearing mother to offer them little comfort. Ridiculous scenarios abound in life without all the padding that most authors add. Pamela’s book offers humor and insight without being over the top. It’s the kind of book that you read on the beach and don’t feel dirty about afterward.

I would recommend this book to men and women alike. I know that you guys just hate to read our stories or watch our movies, but when a good one comes along, why not try opening yourself up to it? Why not take a good inside look at the secret lives of women in a not so secret way? Besides while it is a story about a woman, it’s more of a story about an individual finding a path to self fulfillment without any meditation, or new age feel good moments spent staring out of windows as the rain slowly falls. Nope, none of that. It’s the story of a person lost in a difficult marriage and an unfulfilling job (sound familiar?), wondering what now? And in this story the person finds a new path in an unexpected and exciting way with the help of an unexpected new friend(sound familiar?). So boys and girls just do what I did, crack open that cheap wine, kick your feet up and chuckle away at this highly enjoyable novel by a talented writer whose time has come.