Sugarbush – a rehab centre for LGBT women – receives its new intake of 10 wealthy and diverse lesbians. From a pop diva to a plastic surgeon and a political activist to a Wall Street money maker, each of the characters is larger than life and seemingly, larger than the power of Babe, co-owner of Sugarbush, to control them, despite her firm rules of no sex, no drugs, no smoking. The following 30 days of ‘rehab’ is a wild romp of sex, drugs, self discovery, trans-journeys and a dollop of romance for good measure.
This is, undoubtedly, a funny book. There are is a nearly non stop rollercoaster of laugh out loud moments with slapstick comedy, biting wit and clever observation. Once past the opening scenes of arrival the plot unfolds into a comedy/farce/romance/drama worthy of the big screen. A series of personal journeys that becomes a progression of mini-plots loosely held together in the setting of the rehab centre.
The 10 main characters plus the therapist and varied friends, family and ex’s all well drawn, distinctive and effective. Some are very stereotypical, but for good reason, and others, who could be left as nothing but background get odd pockets of depth. The dialogue is extremely well done. All the characters have a distinctly separate voices and those individual voices and points of view are always clear. Despite managing such a large cast list it all flows and makes perfect sense, quite an achievement in the chaos going on.
The writing is witty and clever, the setting well drawn and distinctive and the who flows with a mad cap pace which can leave you breathless. I did think the editing let it down in places, I found the opening scenes repetitive past the amusing and there were editing errors which was a shame.
I have to admit it took me a while to get into this, but when the opening scenes were over and we started to develop an understanding of the characters, watch them interact and bounce off their own histories and each other, it became intriguing. Full of silliness and humour but also a real story of personal growth. It reminded me of “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” and it’s easy to imagine it filmed with a huge cast of great women actors. I ended up really enjoying it.
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(publisher review copy received)
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