This is my second review this month for the Chick Lit Plus Challenge. I decided to do two because I had actually already read the book I originally chose for July. No idea when but I did. Bizarre! So, I chose Men, Money, and Chocolate by Menna van Praag. I saw it at the library and the title, cover, and synopsis pulled me in. Unfortunately, the rest of the novel didn't thrill me. Let's start with the synopsis from Goodreads and then I'll get into my thoughts of the book.
Maya spends each day in her café, dreaming of a perfect life: one filled with love, wealth, and beauty. But she can’t create the life she longs for. She tries to find fulfillment in the pursuit of men and money, and when that doesn’t work, she seeks comfort in chocolate. This just leaves her empty and lost. Then Maya meets a magical stranger who sets her on a path to create the life of her dreams. . . This sweet and touching true-life tale about love, success, weight loss, and enlightenment will show you what is possible when you listen to your heart, believe in yourself, and take inspired action in the direction of your dreams. Based on the author’s actual experiences, this is a tale of transformation that teaches you how to love another without losing yourself, find work that fills your heart, and embrace the beauty of your body.The main reason I didn't like this book was because it was too inspirational and self-help-y. (Yes, I just made up the word self-help-y.) I was expecting a novel that had a protagonist that went on a personal journey and eventually found a man. What I got was a novel that read like a self help book with lots of life lessons and so on. I am realizing that I really can't express the reason I didn't like this aspect of the book and I'm sorry for that! It's sort of hard to explain but if it was a true story (and it was very heavily based on Menna's own journey) it would have been found in the self help section of your local bookstore. Does that help at all? Hopefully!
That being said - I didn't dislike Maya, surprisingly enough. I could understand how she was feeling a little stuck and just didn't know what to do about it. She started off being almost skeptical of the New Age stuff her cousin recommends but she eventually is quite immersed in that lifestyle. I guess since I don't really believe in psychics etc. I didn't appreciate this part of the novel but I'm sure others would.
I think it's great that Maya took charge of her life and did something that scared her - closing the cafe she was running after her mother passed away and taking that time to write. Not everyone has the guts to do that and she should be commended for that. However, I really didn't like that the book Maya wrote is titled the same as the novel, Men, Money, and Chocolate. Does that seem weird to anyone else?
Overall, I didn't love the book and can't really bring myself to really recommend it. If you're the kind of person who loves browsing the self help books at the store, I think you'd enjoy this one, at least a little bit. For everyone else? Unfortunately, I'd have to give it a pass. Can't love 'em all, right?