Title: Help Yourself
Author: Rachel Michael Arends
193 pages, publication date March 17, 2015
Genre: Women's Fiction
Note: I received this book from NetGalley to facilitate my review. I received no other compensation, and all opinions are my own.
When it’s time to change your life for the better, everyone could use a little help.
Merry Strand is spinning her wheels in her rural mountain hometown when
Fritz Forth, her late father’s attorney, suddenly appears with a
strange and wonderful proposition. Merry has a substantial inheritance
coming, he says… but it’s conditional. Merry must accompany Fritz to the
Atlantic coast and complete a series of life-improving tasks to earn
her windfall. Like a fussy fairy godfather, Fritz promises to help
Merry, though he makes it clear that he’d really rather not.
Arriving on an abandoned barrier island in the offseason, Merry meets
her curmudgeonly Uncle Max, who is hoping to steal her inheritance. Jack
Morningstar, a depressed Midwestern widower, numbly occupies the beach
house next door. Added to the mix are a philosophical dead Englishman, a
crazy mountain town radio therapist, a suicidal software engineer, a
matchmaking dog, and, possibly, a ghost.
With empathy and wit,
Rachel Michael Arends chronicles the ups and downs and eventual
transformations of her richly drawn characters as they learn to help
each other, and ultimately, to help themselves.
First, let's take a moment to appreciate this amazing cover! It's what drew me to the book. Sign me up for a spot right there on that beach! I ended up really enjoying this book. I found myself envious of Merry getting to live in a beach house and a chance to reinvent her life!
I loved the writing style of the book! Each chapter is told by a different character's perspective--either Merry, Jack, or Fritz. Each chapter has a fun title too. For example, Chapter One is entitled "In which Merry is presented with an unexpected opportunity--As told by Merry Strand herself." There are several that are more comical, but I don't want to give anything away! It took a couple chapters to get used to this but by the end I loved the quirky writing style! Another thing that really impressed me about the writing style is that the style changed depending on the character--the writing style for Merry's chapter was different than Fritz's chapter and Jack's chapter. That can be a huge deal breaker for me if not done right.
To be honest...until about 75% of the way through the book, I wasn't loving it. I was liking it, but not loving it. I found it a bit too predictable. But then...the ending! The ending I didn't see coming! The ending definitely made me love the book and give it my 4 star rating instead of a three star.
This book is short--less than 200 pages. It's a perfect weekend read, or a perfect beach read. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for a feel good, entertaining read.
Overall rating for "Help Yourself": 4 Stars