When you pick up a chick-lit novel, you expect to find a main character who is struggling with losing weight, finding a man and furthering her career. Emmeline, the main character in 32AA, is no different except for the fact that she’s struggling to gain weight, not lose it. Emmeline is under five feet tall, underweight and continually embarrassed by her size 32AA chest. Her problems are just about to get larger, though, because little does she know her boyfriend is about to dump her and get engaged to someone else. To make matters worse, he’s also her boss and she has to work with him every day, and she’s now homeless since she has been sharing his apartment for the past three months.
Heartbroken and with nowhere to go, Emmeline retreats to her friend Tish’s couch and lets her huge group of close friends help her heal her wounds. She also relies on family, especially her father and his young wife, Peri. While staying with her family for a weekend, Peri’s brother Jack shows up. Emma has been trying to avoid Jack for years, ever since they almost slept together and she overheard him making scathing comments about her chest. Now, however, it looks like she and Jack are destined to keep running into each other as she continually sees him and he’s got plenty of rooms in his house to rent out to the perpetually apartment-hunting Emma. With the time she’s spending with Jack, Emma may just change her mind about hating him…or maybe she’ll decide that a life of spinsterhood is not so bad after all.
Other than the spin on gaining/losing weight, 32AA is a chick-lit book you’ve probably read a few times already. Emma’s list of To Dos at the beginning of each chapter seems like a rip-off of Bridget Jones, as do her gay friends. The story also often becomes confusing since Cunnah has a tendency to bounce back and forth between the present and recent past. All of this wouldn’t be so bad if the main character was charming and funny enough to carry the novel on her own, but Emma just simply isn’t that wonderful. Her observations and voice are average at best, and she never really develops her own unique personality. Although 32AA is a cute book, it never elevates itself above standard chick-lit fare and should be put aside in favor of more amusing or innovative novels.