Title: Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe
Author: Jennie Shortridge
Release Date: May 6, 2008
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: **** (out of 5)
From the back cover:
Mira Serafino can see the headlines: Girl Scout-Leading, Homeless-Feeding Science Teacher of the Year Goes on Wild Rampage of Sex, Drinking and Drugs. Well, let her small town of Pacifica, Oregon, think what it will. Forty-five-year-old Mira – the obedient daughter, the supermom, the loyal wife – has left the building since learning that her college-sweetheart husband has been seeing another woman.
Mira’s perfect world is shattered, and she wants no one, least of all her big Italian family, to know. She heads north – with no destination and little money – stopping only when her car breaks down in Seattle. She takes a job at the offbeat Coffee Shot at the Center of the Universe, where she’ll experience a scary but invigorating freedom, and meet someone she’ll come to love: the new Mira…
Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe is a wonderful and warm addition to the world of women’s fiction. The picture of espresso on the cover says it all: it is inviting and comfortable, but a little bitter: there may be some realizations within that you don’t necessarily want to have.
In my opinion, that’s the best part of the book. Too often in books such as this, there is a no-good husband and a saintly wife. Though the book seems to start off that way, it quickly evolves into something more. Mira has to rethink her entire marriage and make some hard realizations, not only about her husband, but about herself as well. The fault isn’t one-sided, and understanding is needed on both sides.
It is also nice to see the evolution of Mira’s character in this book. Though she is definitely the same person at the end of the book as she was at the start, much has changed. She seems more aware, more thoughtful; she realizes that she has been living in a state of denial, and not everything has to be picture perfect, as she had planned it. And indeed, the book doesn’t end on a perfect note. There are still difficult decisions to be made and relationships that haven’t been patched up; in other words, it is real life.
There are definitely difficult, and sometimes unpleasant, characters to deal with, from Mira’s daughter Thea to Sequoia, a difficult coworker. And Mira doesn’t always handle these obstacles perfectly – sometimes she prolongs her own unhappiness, which, of course, is frustrating for the reader. But in the end, Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe is a warming read that makes you realize what really is important in life, and that keeping yourself happy is just as important as everyone else being happy.