Whole Latte Life by Joanne Demaio


Long time friends Sarah Beth and Rachel decide to go into New York to celebrate their fortieth birthdays together, kind of a girls weekend.  They had charted out plans of things to see and do together, and over a lunch in a Manhattan restaurant, Sarah Beth takes this opportunity to excuse herself to use the restroom and then…


Well, not exactly disappears as a frantic Rachel soon finds out.  She did leave a note:

Please don’t tell Tom about this.  I really need some time alone Rachel to sort things out.  I am so sorry to do this now on our fortieth birthdays.  I know it means a lot to you and I promise you another celebration.  We go back a long way and you are the only one who will understand and let me do this.  Let me walk away from it all for a little while.  It sounds crazy I know.  Please give me these couple of days alone to try to figure it out, to figure me out.

~page 5, Whole Latte Life

Of course a book that makes me think of coffee and friends is going to catch my eye!

Ok… who has ever wanted to run away from the life they have?  *raises hand*  I admit, I have had times in my life where I have thought “If only I could just get away from it all – no phones no communications, just me on my own”.  This is usually accompanied by some virtual vision of me either living in the woods and living off the land, or in a better scenario, alone at a beach house, far enough away from civilization that I can be at peace and alone, but not so far that I can’t drive in to a small town for groceries or a take out pizza.  😀

In Whole Latte Life, Sarah Beth takes that step that most of us have day dreamed about, and then push the thought aside as we get ready for our jobs, or cook supper.  As a character, I honestly can’t say I liked her.  Sarah Beth’s choices from the very beginning came off to me as selfish, and she never really redeemed herself in my eyes until the very end.  I understand in this book she has had a major loss in her life that contributes to much of her “fight or flight”, but I am thinking get yourself some help sister… see someone you can talk too. (Oh, and dont even get me started on her husband who goes from one extreme… to another). 😯  I am hoping I do not come off as not understanding what Sarah was going through…

I would also say, as I write this, that Sarah Beth is going through a bit of a mid-life crisis, and maybe saying “a bit” is not strong enough…. I would say it is a BIG TIME mid-life crisis.  She dwells on the path not taken, she wonders if an old flame may still be out there waiting for her… she has kids and a husband, but she seems to not think of them first, but instead herself.  (Which again makes me think get this girl a hotline to some therapy!)

Rachel on the other hand, I liked.  Widowed with a daughter, she is a good and patient friend to Sarah Beth, at least as much as she could be.  Her story line I found carried the book, even though the synopsis on the back of the book is all about Sarah Beth and Rachel’s name is not even mentioned. 

My final thoughts:  What I had hoped to get out of this book was a story of strong female friendship against all odds.  In a way that happened, but much differently than I thought.  I feel Rachel takes the leading role here not only as a true friend but as the story line I was most interested in.  I felt Sarah Beth got away with way too much for her family to endure as they did… and maybe that is just me being me.

The book is well written, and my ability to like or not like a character – is most likely, my issue. 

I recommend this book to anyone who ever felt their life was crumbling around them and survived through a supportive family or a great friend.

Amazon Rating

Goodreads review


Here are some awesome book lovers who have also reviewed this book:

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16 Comments on “Whole Latte Life by Joanne Demaio

  1. Sheila…I felt the same way about this book…I strongly disliked Sara Beth…I wanted to scream at her for leaving Rachel like that in NYC…I liked Rachel o much more…lol…

    • I tried hard Patty to put myself into her shoes, with all that going on and how crushing life can feel at times, but it just did not flow right for me. Rachel was pretty awesome 😀

  2. I think it’s quite common to prefer one character over another, and I agree that Rachel’s journey was the more interesting one. The one I connected with.

    It is harder to relate to Sara Beth, who comes off as thinking only of herself.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Laurel, I know you reviewed this and I went looking for it this morning to link it but could not figure out which blog you had it on – if you read this could you shoot me your link? I would love to connect your thoughts here too 🙂

  3. Thanks, Sheila for your thought-provoking review (and I love that latte art you included!). It’s interesting how one character’s decisions can act as a springboard for changes in others’ lives. We just never know what might shape us. Thanks again!

    • That was the backbone of the story Mary, and that was a good base for the book to stand on, but then Sarah Beth was too one way and then another and dint seem to get that she was hurting all those around her… 😀

  4. Didn’t you just want to climb into the book and slap Sara!!!! I sure did!!! Thanks for the link back!!

    • I think if she would have been all one way – like leaving and not returning, or all the other way hurt and staying, I could have worked with her more. But the wishy washy, I left, I am back “why is everyone mad?” I am leaving again, but no I am back… that’s what lost the appeal of her to me 😀

  5. Hi Sheila,

    I read some reviews from earlier post… I am turning into follower to your blog (or big fan) 🙂

    I’ve question here. How you complete book in one day? I tried it many times and felt its not possible unless and until book is small (you are free to avoid this question.. Its just out of curiosity)

    • Thank you! I am glad you enjoy my reviews. 🙂

      To answer your question, I rarely can read a book in a day. It usually takes me a few days to finish a book. If you are referring to how I can put a post up almost daily that would be due to a few things:
      1. I listen to a lot of audio (3 at once – one in the bedroom, on in the kitchen and one in the car) and they finish throughout the week
      2. Since I write other posts besides reviews, I can occasionally have a couple reviews waiting in the wings (I like that! 😀 )
      3. I have started working with a young girl who is the daughter of a friend who is reviewing YA books for me and I have been putting her posts up on Tuesdays.
      4. I have several books partially read that I need to finish… when I do finish those they are a lot faster to finish as they are partially there already. (I really dislike that I have an occasional tendency to put a book down and come back to it later, but there it is.)

      Thanks for asking! 😀

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