I have something to confess: I am not a shoe person.
There, I’ve said it. In these days where every other magazine peddles Prada
and popular television shows sing the praises of Manolo Blahniks, I have never felt the urge to spend an entire paycheck on a pair of shoes. Even worse, all four of my sisters have inherited the shoe gene, which I am sadly lacking:
my only quest involving shoes is the search for a slipper that doesn’t make that scuffing noise when you walk.
My sisters’ rhapsodies about the perfection of this shoe’s stitching or that one’s arch, or their debates over pumps versus stilettos, all fall on deaf ears. It is an obsession that perplexes me, as much as my obsession with books perplexes them. Perhaps Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison is our perfect
Shoe Addicts Anonymous meets every Tuesday night, and if you have a size 7½ shoe, live in the Washington, D.C. area, and
confess a love for shoes, it just might be the place for you. The club, brainchild of Lorna Rafferty, whose love for shoes (and tendency to ignore her mounting pile of mail) has led her very near to financial ruin, was originally meant as a way for her to subsidize her shoe habit without incurring any additional debt. For the three women who answer her Gregslist advertisement, and for Lorna herself, it winds up being much, much more.
In addition to Lorna, the shoe addicts include Sandra Vanderslice, plus-sized phone-sex operator and serious agoraphobic, battling her way back into the real world a little bit at a time;
the youngest of their group, Jocelyn Bowen, who’s new in town, a nanny to two normal, rambunctious children with a not-so-normal shrewish mother
- and, girl after my own heart, she doesn’t really ‘get’ the shoe thing
either: she’s just looking for somewhere to go on Tuesdays that doesn’t include her boss or the sexually dysfunctional;
and lastly, Helene Zaharis, who may look like the perfect politician’s wife, leading the perfect capital city life, but she’s got troubles – and secrets – of her own.
Now that they’ve all become friends, the stories of
their lives are endlessly more entertaining. Through
disasters and dates, private investigators and philandering husbands, Harbison does a great job showing the warmth and wit that prevails in so many women’s friendships. She manages to portray the bond between the four women without falling back on any useless stereotypes, and in doing so, keeps the story
fresh, interesting and amusing. Her ability to write
with honesty and humor should not be surprising, given that Harbison has a long backlist of Silhouette
Romances (and a few cookbooks) under her belt.
All in all, Shoe Addicts Anonymous is a highly recommended, fun and glossy read, sure to garner Harbison some new fans - and they will be well deserved.