Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review: Chocolate for Breakfast

Imagine this: you have a book to read that quite a few people you know have been raving about. You're probably really looking forward to it, right? That was the case with me and Chocolate for Breakfast by Martha Reynolds. Taking a look at my Goodreads page, I could see that a handful of my friends had rated it at 4 or 5 stars. Excellent! I dove into the novel and...was disappointed. I wanted to like it but, unfortunately, it just didn't do much for me.

Here's the synopsis:
Young Bernie (Bernadette) Maguire is in for the journey of a lifetime when her junior year abroad takes her to Fribourg Switzerland. Ripe for love and adventure she is seduced by a handsome Swiss banker. She is horrified when she discovers she's pregnant. Protected and befriended by those who help to keep her secret for as long as possible, this moving rite-of-passage tale will warm the heart as a young woman struggles with an all-too-familiar dilemma. Yet after the unexpected death of her father, Bernie’s life takes some unexpected turns that will take decades to resolve.
One of the things that sort of threw me off was that the book takes place years ago (1978, maybe?). At first I wasn't sure why but once things got going and I realized where the story was headed, I knew that I would probably be put back in the present by the end of the book. It's not that I disliked the fact that it took place in the past. In all honesty, I have no idea why it threw me off.

Also, I have discovered this year that I really dislike books where the main character, usually a teen, gets pregnant. I understand that accidents happen and that's not as bad to read about, but in this case it was just a matter of Bernie being uninformed. I may have even called her stupid as I was reading the scene (not very nice of me, I know). This is a very personal opinion, I think, and everyone will not be as put off by it as I am.

Once Bernie realized she was pregnant, I was able to stop waiting for that to happen and try to enjoy the rest of the story. There were some nice parts to the book - she has a great best friend, Lisa, and I really liked reading the scenes that were just the two of them being typical college girls abroad. I was also happy that she had two adults to help her through a pretty rough time of her life. One was the program coordinator (I suppose that's what he was called) and the other was her doctor, who just happened to be dating said program coordinator. I desperately wished that things had turned out differently for Bernie and Timmy. I wasn't really a fan of how things ended up between them. Communication is key, people!

The final thing that sort of irked me about this book was the ending. The last section put us in present day and, for some unknown reason, into third person perspective. I have no idea why the viewpoint changed but it didn't help my already lacking connection with Bernie.

Overall, Chocolate for Breakfast just wasn't a winner for me. It seems like many others really enjoyed Martha Reynolds' novel (see the book's Goodreads page) so this could be purely a matter of personal taste. Have you read this one? What did you think?

*A copy of this novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.*

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