Distant Shores
by Kristin Hannah, contemporary (2002)
Ballantine, $22.95, ISBN 0-345-45071-X

I never trust an author who names her heroine Birdie and then has her father tell her in serious gravity, "Birdie, if you donít spread your wings, youíll plumb forget how to fly." Distant Shores (a not-so-smart reference to our lead couple, the Shores, rendered by marital acrimonies) may be written when Kristin Hannah is living her secret life as a failed screenwriter for AMC or Hallmark via a detour writing greeting card slogans for Memory Lane. Aye, fly, Birdie, let me get me guns ready and shoot your saccharine feather-brained scrawny ass down, see if I don't.

Birdie is sad, because her husband expects her to move to New York when he is finally a sports broadcast superstar. All her life she has been silently playing the supporting doormat while neglecting her own dreams of artiste (heroines of this sort always either write poetry, make beautiful pottery and quilts, paint Kinkadian cottage porn landscapes, or write deep fiction about women coming to strength and glory after some ya-ya bonding). Now, she wants to spend time painting her stuff and whine and whine and whine. All the whine you can have with your cheese, the latter also served in generous helping by Kristin Hannah here.

She goes back to her smalltown somewhere in Oregon, he to New York. There, he will realize that city gals are all shallow female doggies that he can sleep with but not marry, so back he goes. In the meantime, our heroine walks in a dream-like trance of self-pity and asexual martyred celibacy as she bonds with every ya-ya broad in town. In this book, you reach your epiphany via Daddy issues, Hubby issues, lots of cringe-inducing things only walking greeting cards or authors intoxicated on Hallmark cards would say, and some contrived ya-ya bonding. And finally, these women, enlightened and liberated, return to their husbands, slimmer, radiant, and more beautiful than they ever were when they were just dumb, quiet soccer moms reading bad Hallmark fiction written by the likes of Kristin Hannah.

Take the author's advice, people. Ditch this book, go to Oregon, but don't forget to get drunk and get laid while you're there. Then again, ditch Oregon. Can we say "Mardi Gras", people?

Rating: 48

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