“Been There, Married That: a Novel,” St. Martin’s Press, by Gigi Levangie
Being a book about Hollywood, maybe it’s not a coincidence that “Been There, Married That” by Gigi Levangie seems more like a movie than a novel.
Rich detail is paid to the food, the clothes and the decor surrounding Agnes Murphy Nash, the perfect wife to successful movie mogul (and cringe-inducing narcissist) Trevor. Readers are fully immersed in a jet-set lifestyle that by page 2 seems too good to be true.
It’s also obvious pretty early on that there will be a trade-off for that enviable life. There’s obviously more to her than her flavourless friends; Agnes actually has her own career as an author and the story starts at her own book party. She can hold a business conversation and has a desire to be a role model for her daughter Pep.
The question is: Does Agnes have her priorities right?
There were moments I doubted it. For a supposedly smart woman, it took her an incredibly long amount of time to put together that Trevor had locked her out of the house and was sleeping with the help. But, giving her the benefit of the doubt, sometimes you don’t see what’s in plain sight if you are willing so hard for it not to be true.
In the first half of the book, Agnes’ backbone is flimsy and her relationships are out of whack. She signed off on being sent to rehab for eating disorders after an “intervention” because she was addicted to snacking on almonds. That low point came when Trevor dangled a private jet and spa-like accommodations. What?!
Try telling your vulnerable teenage daughter that.
But clawing her way out of the faux Shangri-La in Tuscon becomes a formative experience for Agnes, and when she returns to her mansion, she starts to put her trust in the right places, especially her mooch convicted-felon sister, Fin.
Together, they become an enchanting Thelma-and-Louise duo. I predict readers will cheer them on until the happy ending befitting a chick flick that surely this book will be someday.
Samantha Critchell, The Associated Press