I loved ‘Crimes Against a Book Group’.

It’s fun, funny and sweet, featuring a cast of mostly rich characters who are about to be swindled – and enjoy it.

What’s it about?

Annie and Sarah are best friends with problems. Annie discovers her young son is autistic and decides she needs to pay a ton of money to buy him the best available therapy. Sarah is pursuing yet another gruelling round of IVF, while working equally gruelling 80 hour weeks as a lawyer. Strapped for cash, pharmacist Annie conceives a grand plan: selling overpriced face cream to the rich but aging members of the La Jolla book club. Clever Annie will make it, beautiful Sarah will sell it: simple.

But in her quest to attract repeat customers, Annie decides to add a secret, special, illegal ingredient. What will happen if she’s found out?

What’s it like?

Genuinely funny. Full of characters you can root for and women you want to succeed. Just delightful.

Annie’s astonishment at what women will spend on face cream is brilliantly juxtaposed with Sarah’s blasé attitude as she apologises to a saleswoman for her friend’s lack of awareness: ‘”Of course, you’re right. Six hundred dollars is very reasonable.” Sarah was used to apologising for Annie’s manners. It was like having a foreign exchange student for a best friend.’

I loved the characters and their awkward relationships – especially Annie’s relationship with her mum, Chloe, who is as madcap as Annie is sensible. The supporting characters are also great fun, with their own mini-stories of development and how the face cream changes them. This is just a really fun read.

Final thoughts

‘Sarah didn’t know many old people. They just weren’t around in her world. They were off hiding somewhere – at senior centres, in Florida, or at home watching Fox News. Sarah guessed they must be like that guy in Tuesdays with Morrie – slowly dying but full of twinkly-eyed optimism. They’d utter bumper-sticker slogans with enough emphasis to make them sound profound and then complain about not being able to find the remote.’

Each chapter begins with a short vignette reflecting on a character’s thoughts in relation to a book. I thoroughly enjoyed this feature, though it did alert me to significant plot developments in a couple that I hadn’t yet read!

‘Crimes Against a Book Group’ is funny, bookish and features a plot which is beautifully tied up at the end.

Highly recommended for a light and ultimately heart-warming read.

‘Crimes Against a Book Group’,
Kathy Cooperman,
2017, Lake Union, paperback