Title: Pieces of Happily Ever After
Author: Irene Zutell
Release Date: September 1, 2009
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: SheKnows Book Club
Rating: 4 out of 5
Alice Hirsh has hit rock bottom. Her entertainment lawyer husband has left her for the beautiful actress Rose Maris. Alice has no idea how to begin picking up the pieces of her life, especially since her five-year-old daughter Gabby doesn’t understand why daddy doesn’t live at home anymore. As Alice struggles to deal with the paparazzi on her front lawn, her aging mother who has Alzheimer’s, and her daughter’s obsession with happily ever after, she must come to terms with her own life and figure out what really is important.
When the SheKnows Book Club picked Pieces of Happily Ever After as our first read, I was really excited. This was a book I had wanted to read anyways, and now I had an excuse to move it to the top of my TBR pile!
Alice was an incredibly well-written character, and really the strongest element of the novel. Zutell does a wonderful job making her three-dimensional and very realistic. Alice is trying to be the best mother she can, yet she doesn’t know what to do or how to make Gabby happy. She wants to do the noble thing and only talk about Gabby’s father positively, yet she is so angry that she can’t help but snap sometimes. She’s very conflicted and is struggling to stay afloat. I also loved how she developed as a character through this book.
Gabby was a difficult little girl in Pieces of Happily Ever After. It’s completely understandable why, as she’s trying to deal with the loss of her father and her mother’s slide into depression. She’s realistically portrayed, yet sometimes it’s hard to read about her.
Alice’s struggles with her mother’s Alzheimer’s was an incredibly moving part of the story. When the novel begins, the disease is already at a very advanced stage. The descriptions of how her mother deteriorates are heartbreaking – at one point, she forgets how to walk. It’s so sad, yet Zutell writes it so well.
Pieces of Happily Ever After isn’t perfect. There are a lot of minor characters that can be difficult to keep track of and some tangential storylines, but at the novel’s core is the relationship between a mother and a daughter. It’s a sweet book and a quick read that will really appeal to mothers.