Meet Jill. She does ok for a single mom. She works from home answering phone calls for a company called Great Girl Friend Getaways, and teaches a weekly class called Lunch Around The World at the Community Center. It may not be all glamorous, but hey – it’s a living and one that keeps Jill and her ten-year old daughter Anastasia in left overs from class, and a roof over their head.
So why, why, WHY, is it that just as Jill is thinking she may have met someone interesting…. enter stage left (because it certainly isn’t right!) her ex-husband Seth. It’s been seven years of struggling to make it on her own and now he is back, smug and feeling that he can now take on his parental duties and mosey right back into the household. Instant family. Just add Seth. No hard feelings right?
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Before I get into review mode…. let me share with you how this book happened to get into my hot little hands in the matter of 30 minutes from knowing it existed to reading. I had been reading right along this past weekend and while what I was reading was good…. it wasn’t holding me. It was gorgeous outside and my mind kept wandering off the pages. I needed literature substance, but I needed something….. else.
I took a break to check out some of the blogs I like to haunt frequent, when I popped into Vicki’s Reading At The Beach (with a blog title like that how could I go wrong?) and read her review of Seven Year Switch. I knew then as I popped from Vicki’s blog to this bright sunny looking authors site with a smiley Claire Cook on it that this was the book I wanted to read. (Oh tell me I am not the only one that happens too…)
So I jumped on my cell phone and speed dialed my local book store. (Ok not speed dialed but that would have been funny and come to think of it they SHOULD be under speed dial!). They had the book in stock, yes, but only one copy. I asked them to hold it and I would be there in 15 minutes.
30 minutes later I am home with book, take out pizza, and ice-cold diet Pepsi. I am ready to read.
I was not disappointed. From the start Claire Cook’s book of fun and real characters hopped into my heart. I appreciated that it was not only a fun enjoyable read, but I was also pleasantly surprised with the little things I learned along the way. While Jill was teaching her Lunch Around The World Class she spilled this little gem for my brain:
“Yum cha is one of the best ways to experience this,” I continued. “literally, yum cha means ‘drinking tea’, but it actually encompasses both the tea drinking and the eating of dim sum, a wide range of light dishes served in small portions.”
“Dim sum has many translations: ‘small eats’ of course but also ‘hearts delight’….”
And there was plenty more from where that came from…. from Jill’s classes to her phone conversations with potential Great Girlfriend Getaways customers – I picked up on tips about food, traditions, and the countries themselves.
The food and learning of the places centered around the food was such an interesting part of the book that by the time I got to Hawaii, and Jill listed out the ingredients to make Huli Huli chicken…. I was right on that and the book and I went to the grocery store to pick up the ginger I would need and the frozen pineapple juice.
You will enjoy Jill’s daughter Anastasia with her diary entries (oh I remember my diary when I was that age!) and her sweet spelling word sentences. Author Claire Cook had really breathed life into this little character with a big heart.
The book was fun and the characters caused me to laugh (read the book I think we all have a Cynthia in our life….). I knew I wanted to read more of Claire Cook’s work as apparently I was under some sort of rock and had missed this author who writes books that I want to take to my deck, pop my feet up on the chair arm and read read read!
I chatted a bit with author Claire Cook over the past couple of days like a crazed book groupie and either from fear, or from the kindness of her heart (I believe the latter…) she agreed to hang out with me here and chat about her book, her coffee preference, and whatever else two chicks who love books chat about! AND this is all happening yet today so make a mental note to come back and not miss this fun event! 😀
For all you know I may just be a raving lunatic so here are a couple wonderful bloggers I know who have agreed to share their thoughts on this book with all of you as well. Please visit them and see their thoughts on Seven Year Switch as well.
Book Journey’s 2010 reading map has been updated to include Seven Year Switch
Since Jill found a fun getaway in Costa Rica, certainly if you go you must go on a Costa Rica Coffee Tour!
237 pages of pure fun
Cover Story: Oh yes! The cover was Squeeeee worthy as soon as I laid eyes on it!
Bonus…. The Recipe For Huli Huli Chicken
This is from page 79 of the book and while Jill did not give exact measurements I just kind of went with it and it turned out DELICIOUS! (Ask my hubby – he was munching on Huli Huli all evening long)!
One fresh pineapple cut into bite size chunks
cut up bite size chunks of uncooked chicken breast ( I used 4 pounds for my recipe)
chicken broth (I bought a big can but only used 2/3, probably could have used 2 small cans)
1 can frozen pineapple juice concentrate
chopped ginger (I found a little jar in the produce department already chopped fine)
Mix in large bow. The book does not give exact amounts, it says “nothing from Hawaii was every fussy so I guessed on the amounts.”
So did I….. I just added until I liked the taste of the sauce. Put the cut up chunks of chicken into the sauce, cover bowl and refrigerate. I refrigerated 6 hours. Then put chicken on skewers that have been soaked in water so as not to burn, and alternate between chicken and pineapple. Grill and serve.
I purchased this book from Bookworld in Brainerd, MN.