Rebecca Bloom’s first novel, Girl Anatomy, focuses on a theme we’re all quite used to seeing lately—single girl is looking for love, yet can’t seem to find the right man so ends up going out and partying with friends every night instead. Some recent books have actually handled the subject matter well by making the books very humorous or by making the heroine impossible to resist. Unfortunately, Bloom has taken the tired subject matter and created a book with little humor, a bland heroine and few redeeming qualities.
Bloom’s heroine is Lilly, a twenty-something loser in love who is rocked by the news that her longtime single friend Maya is getting married. Suddenly paranoid about her single status, Lilly begins remembering every significant (and not-so-significant) relationship in her life that has led to her perpetual uncoupled state. Although the premise isn’t extremely promising, it could still have been handled well by a more experienced and talented author. In Bloom’s hands, however, Girl Anatomy regresses into a confused mishmash of flashbacks that are about as unfunny as they are uninteresting.
It’s hard to pinpoint where Bloom lost me. I was slightly interested in the few chapters, though I knew I wasn’t reading anything that would change my life. However, a few chapters in, I realized that I couldn’t recall one character who had been introduced other than Lilly. The situation grew worse when I realized I was completely lost. Was Bloom talking about the present? The past? The future? The book skips around so much and with such ineffective transitions that, for a good portion of the book, I had no idea where Lilly was and where I was supposed to be when reading about her. A complete lack of characterization, even with Lilly, and stilted dialogue added to the book’s problems.
The book is not a complete waste of time, however. There are bits of prose that sparkle and have real meaning, giving us hope that Bloom has a much better book inside her. These short revelations are far too few, though, and buried in the jumble that is the rest of the book. If Bloom can clean up her plot, make her conversations more believable and create some memorable characters, she could probably write a very entertaining novel. If she wants to compete with the likes of Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones) and Sophie Kinsella (the Shopaholic series), she’ll have to do much better than Girl Anatomy.