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.
Sharon’s Garden Of Book Reviews
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.
45 thoughts on “Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook”
Great review, Sheila! I linked your page with mine too! I think this book is going to be the read of the summer!
Thanks Sharon – I will have to pop over later and see your review 🙂
Sheila, loved your review! A similar thing happened to me…I kept seeing (over a span of 3 days) snippets of comments and/or mentions of Seven Year Switch. I raced to the library that day, checked out a book (from an author I’d never heard of before!) and started reading her works. I listened to one in my car and have gobbled up two more titles. Fun summer reading, but with a human touch! I loved the “Lunch Around the World” senior classes and the Great Girlfriends Getaway calls too. Anastasia was a well-developed character and a lovely young lady. Everyone should (and does!) have a Cynthia in their lives and Jill’s mom and her beau are a delight too!
Linda I must have just been in the mood because this book fit exactly what I was craving in a read. 😀
I love your “Book Cover Imitation” photo … and the recipe looks delicious … and the book seems to be calling my name. I wonder if my library has it. (Pause, while I check.) Yesssss! Well, sort of. Two copies are “in process” right now, but I am number five on the waiting list. Now look what you’ve done! You’ve increased my TBR list! I can see by the grin on your face that you aren’t sorry at all. No, not at all.
Bonnie – I did a fist pump in the air and yelled “YES!” when you said I added it your TBR – LOL! I think you will glad this one was an add in! 🙂
I’m so excited. This is on my bookclub’s list for our Sept. read. I’m going to forward a link to your review to my whole book club!
Oh thanks Debbie 😀 Thats fun and let me say “Hi Debbie’s book club!”
Oh, a book that makes you want to cook! That would be some magical feat for me, but I’m hoping it has that effect when I read it.
Love your funny cover!
Laurel – me too… I am not a cook and I am usually trying to think of the easiest thing I can make….sad but true 🙂
Thanks about the cover – wish it could have been on a beach! 😀
Great review! And how fun that you figured out the recipe! It does look good. I liked a lot of Jill’s class in this book and the owner of GGG, they all had a lot of character.
They did Julie and I learned while I read which is always a plus!
Sheila you are too funny! I like the picture of the book cover imitation and how lucky are you to jump on your desire to read that book, go get it , fix yourself a snack and go to it! Lucky duck!
It sounds like a good one!
Occasionally Michelle – everything just comes together 😀
I love your book cover imitation Sheila! You were smart to pick up a pizza and Pepsi on the way home after buying Seven Year Switch. Once you start reading it, it is hard to put down! I’m so upset to learn I won’t be able to work for Great Girls Getaways. That’s a bummer. I enjoyed your review!
It was Beth – I almost had it read that first night I had it. 🙂
I have heard so many great reviews about this book. I am going to have my hubby stop by the book store today to get it for me. Do you think this would be a great book club book?
Brandy I think it would. If you had the option to meet at a house and do a potluck around the food along with your discussion that would be fun! 🙂
I will be recommending this to my book club.
WOW! Sheila, you outdid yourself!! Thank you for this fabulous review — and I LOVED that you made Huli Huli chicken! The book jacket imitation photo is great, too! So much fun talking to you!
Thanks for your nice comments, everybody! And I’d be happy to call or Skype into your book club, Debbie, if we can make the time work!
Hi Claire thanks for popping in and for your coment! I had a lot of fun with the book! 😀
Mmmm that chicken looks nommy.
MMM Hmmmmm….. yummy chicken 😀
Great review! I can’t wait to read it. I’ve read several of her books. I enjoy her sense of humor. I love her cover. For me, covers are so important. I’ve often purchased books because I loved the cover. YOU CRACK ME UP! The book cover imitation is HILARIOUS! I’m surprised you didn’t put a baby pool at your feet.
DOH! I totally didn’t think about a baby pool Jill or I would have so been on that! 🙂
Oh I don’t think so! Mr. Seth can just mosey himself on his way! I can already think of several people besides myself who would really like this book.
Ladytink – I think you would too 😀
I’ve added this one to my TBR list. It sounds like the kind of book I’d love. I remember that I liked Must Love Dogs. Thanks for your fantastic review. I love the picture of the book cover imitation.
Thanks Christina T…. sometimes my mind just comes up with these odd things….like hmmmmm…… I could do that 😀
I love that you went from blog to book, pizza, and pepsi in 30 minutes. Sounds like the perfect combination. And I don’t completely believe that you don’t have your bookstore on speed dial. 😉
This sounds like a great summer read. I definitely need to keep this one in mind.
It was a plan in action alitareads 😀
And I plead the 5th on the whole speed dial thing 🙂
I was not initially interested in this book-however my interest has been piqued.
Esme – you are by the beach – this book is a perfect summer read for you 🙂
Ooh, that recipe sounds awesome! I love grilled pineapple! Gotta love a book that sweeps you up so entirely, don’t you? 🙂
Hannah, recipe is yummy! Al came home and said the Chicken kabobs were good and I said you can thank Claire Cook for them 🙂
Some books just seem to fit at certain times and that’s what this one was.
That’s so awesome.
Sheila, this book sounds like a MUST read kind of book. Can’t wait to get my hands on it! Mmmm and that picture along with the recipe, looks and sounds Deeelicious! I am going to have to try that tomorrow night. =)
Oh if you try it make sure you let me know what you thought! I like food with flavor and this really had it! 😀
LOL at your cover imitation. You should do more of those!
Thanks Angie it was fun 🙂
Love your imitation of the cover! That’s hilarious!
BTW, here is the link to my review of the book:
And here’s the guest post Claire wrote for me:
Thanks for the links JHS!
sounds really excellent!
It was a lot of fun to read Rebecca!
I am so glad I am playing catch-up on your posts. Firstly, I am going to try that chicken recipe as soon as I get home.
As for the book, it sounds delightful. I am also in sort of reading slump and need something a bit different to get me out of it. I like the story line and the characters sound engaging.
Thanks for the review. Next I am on to your author interview and look forward to that.
Pat, my hubby just requested that recipe again. 😀