Monday, March 8, 2010
Waking Up in the Land of Glitter: A Crafty Chica Novel by Kathy Cano-Murillo tells the story of Estrella (Star) Esteban's antics as she tries to redeem herself in the eyes of her parents, her boyfriend and her friends. Star, the daughter of new age parents Dori and Al, moves relatively aimlessly through life starting projects she never finishes and shirking her responsibilities as she lives rent-free at age 28 in her parents' home. Her father finally gives her an ultimatum requiring Star to plan and execute an event to benefit the family business - this ultimatum sets Star on a path to discover what she really wants from life.
Star and her crafting friends - Ofie, Crafty Chloe and Benecio - are very likeable characters. Star is the "Lucy"of the group and she is caught in crazy scenarios that she brings on herself but you root for her anyway. Ofie is desperate for others approval and the mother figure for the group while Crafty Chloe is an ambitious career woman who looks around and realizes her career is all she has in her life. Benecio, the talented teenager who hides his artistic interests from his absent parents, is actually wise beyond his years and provides steady support for the women in the group. The four embark on a crafting project extraordinaire in order to meet Star's father's ultimatum. Along the way they develop a friendship - this friendship and how it supports them through a variety of challenges is endearing.
With these characters and snappy dialogue with frequent pop culture references, the book has a lot going for it. However, when I reflect on the novel in its entirety, it seems to just miss the mark. Some of the scenes are difficult to believe and not just difficult to imagine happening in real life but difficult to imagine with what we are given with these characters. For example, Star and Crafty Chloe move from being arch enemies to the closest of friends with little to explain the transition. I had difficulty believing how easily everything started to fit together within the storyline. There were many storylines going on at once in the novel - perhaps with a few less characters and by cutting a story line or two, the book would have rung more true for me and seemed less trite.
Bottom line - the is a fun, frothy novel but it is terribly predictable. The book does a good job of honoring friendships and the power that an artistic release can have in a person's life.