From the back cover:
When frazzled mother of four Ashley Gates lets her best friend drag her to a meeting of the local scrapbooking club, she’s amazed at the way old photographs and mementos can bring vivid color to sepia-toned memories. Among the surprisingly diverse group is Tara, a single grad student whose search for love, like her relationship with her absentee father, has only brought her heartache – and some funny dating stories. Then there’s Libby, a semi-retired teacher who thought she’d spend her golden years taking cooking and photography classes – not as the town pariah after her son is charged in a corporate scandal. And as Ashley copes with a husband whose love for her fluctuates with her weight, she comes to depend more and more on her scrapbooking sisters. Only together can they face earth-shattering revelations and emotionally unavailable men – and figure out their futures, while artfully commemorating their pasts.
When Kathleen Reid was kind enough to send me a copy of her latest book, A Page Out of Life, I was very excited. Though I know nothing about scrapbooking, I tend to enjoy novels about women coming together to do something they enjoy: cooking, reading (Elizabeth Noble’s The Reading Group), or even knitting (Kate Jacobs’ Friday Night Knitting Club), which is something else I am clueless about. While Reid’s book was very reminiscent of these other works, it still has the merit to stand on its own. If you don’t know anything about scrapbooking, you will enjoy this novel for the strength of its characters and a peek into a foreign world. If you are fond of “scrapping,” you will adore this novel.
Reid’s characters were extremely relatable, even though I am in completely different situations than most of them. The character I identified most with was Tara, but Ashley’s story really spoke to me. Who doesn’t understand/sympathize with the pain of putting your children first? Of losing your own life because you want to give your children everything? Reid portrays this eloquently without condemning Ashley for letting go of herself. Instead, the author gently points out that while providing for your children is incredibly important, it is just as crucial for a mother to see to her own needs and desires in order to be happy. As the characters are in different situations in their lives, each reader should be able to identify with one of them, while sympathizing with all.
The only things that felt lacking about the novel were the sometimes cumbersome dialogue and the conclusion; I didn’t feel satisfied with the way the novel ended. I felt as though there were many loose ends that hadn’t been tied up – here’s hoping for a sequel! In the meantime, I am eager to dig up Reid’s previous novel, Paris Match.