The Shoestring Club
By Sarah Webb
Published: 27th September 2012
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
When the love of her life, Ed, announces his surprise engagement to her best friend, Julia Schuster is distraught but determined not to let them see how much she’s hurting. She spies a remarkable dress in Shoestring, her sister’s designer second-hand shop, and knows she’ll only be able to stagger through the wedding day, showing everyone how over Ed she is, if her body is wrapped in its soft silk chiffon. Unfortunately it costs mega bucks and she’s barely hanging on to her job as it is.
Arietty Pilgrim can’t and won’t attend her fiercely competitive school reunion unless she can arrive wearing exactly the same dress. But working as an elephant keeper in Dublin Zoo does not a millionaire make.
But fate has a funny way of bringing people together. Just as Julia starts to flounder amidst family troubles, problem drinking and a broken heart, she meets Arietty and the two of them set up The Shoestring Club – time-sharing one extraordinary dress and beginning a life-altering friendship.
I would like to thank Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of this book, I’m really thankful to be a part of your twitter family!
I had never read a Sarah Webb book, so I was interested to see what this author could produce. After reading the blurb, I expected this book to be in a similar vein to The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares, with the sharing of a dress. In the end, the book is a lot more than this and I was pleasantly surprised that the dress wasn’t the main focus of the book. I was looking for a light and fluffy read, and this was a lot deeper than what I expected from the blurb.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure I liked the book at the start, mainly because it wasn’t what I expected and I thought the pace was too slow for the first half of the book. I’m really glad I persevered with the book as I enjoyed the second half. This book is very much multi layered, there is a lot going on: Julia and her drinking, her relationships with her family and friends, her job, and her relationships with Ed and Lainey.
Considering the many layers, I thought the pace only picked up half way through.
I enjoyed the dialogue throughout this book, I thought it was realistic and develops the characters. There is the occasional use of strong language in the book, but I thought it was used in a way that developed the scene.
I wasn’t sure about the main character, Julia, at first. She seemed more focus on getting drunk, and I couldn’t relate to her. She really does develop and I ended up liking her, and empathising with her. At times she is quite funny, and I reacted the same way as she did, in particular towards Lainey, and Ed.
The ‘life-altering’ friendship described in the blurb didn’t really surface until about 100 pages in. I really liked Arietty, and I would have loved to hear more about her. I would have liked to have seen there friendship a lot more. I believe there is another book featuring these characters, so I’m interested to see how they develop in that one, especially given the last paragraph of the book. It was a surprising cliff hanger considering there’s not build up to it.
I thought Ed was well written, because I couldn’t stand him. I wondered what on earth Julia saw in him. I thought their relationship was engaging and I wanted to see how it ended up.
In summary, this book wasn’t what I expected and at first I thought the book wasn’t for me. I’m really glad I finished the book, as it became a page turner towards the end. I’m glad how the book ended as there were a lot of threads to tie up, and even left room for a cliff-hanger.
I’d recommend this to people that liked the concept of The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants, but want a more mature read.
If you’d like to grab yourself a copy: Amazon link