Close your eyes and picture a classic spinster in your mind. Go ahead, this blog isn’t going anywhere.
What did you see? I envision a frumpy, frazzle haired woman wearing sweats, surrounded by cats, old-but-comfy furniture and deep in a pile of 100-calorie pack wrappers. When I hear the word “spinster” I envision an older time, maybe Victorian, but the junk food wrappers remain. Temporal dissonance, sure, but somehow a key element to modern spinster-hood, right?
In “Thirty-two going on spinster,” author Becky Monson introduces us to Julia adorning, an accounting assistant lost in her self-imposed uniform of polo shirts and no make-up.
Yes, she has a gorgeous best friend at the office. Yes, a new cute boy enters the scene. No, what happens next is not as predictable as it seems.
When Julia’s boss, Mr. Nguyen, starts to ask for the same reports over and over again, Julia figure he’s just being even weirder than usual. When Mr. Calhoun asks her to his office and isn’t asking her to bake more homemade cupcakes, she knows something truly strange is starting.
Enter: Spinster Spy Julia Dorning.
Okay, the Spinster Spy but doesn’t last more than a few pages, but I love the term. Maybe there a new series there.
While the novel focuses on Julia’s transformation, what makes this book truly sing is the fact that it doesn’t take for granted that the rest of the world exists.
Too many chick lit novels assume that the transformation of a down-on-her-luck heroine into a beautiful woman with just a little encouragement from a well-placed friend will carry the story. What worked for teen rom-coms in the 90s just isn’t enough to break the glass ceiling of a great book.
Becky Monson paints a quirky picture of the adventures of one spinster perfectly happy in her parents’ basement, working the job she’s always hated, and baking at night to bring a little joy to her friends’ and coworkers’ lives. She was never looking for a change, never wanted to be transformed, and never dreamt Jared Moody would enter the picture with a mix of lust and betrayal.
Pair “Thirty-two going on thirty” with Baker & Brain’s 2011 Le Mistral Grenache. This dense and elegant California wine is born of rugged exposures and sandy soils that culminate in an intensely flavored cool climate wine, not unlike the transformation of Julia from rugged spinster into a brilliantly relatable leading lady.
Throw on your best spinster outfit, grab a bottle of Le Mistral Grenache, bake a plate of cookies and dive into “Thirty-two going on spinster.”