At the age of 36 Michelle, chicken packer extraordinaire, did not expect to be living in such a rut. Living in the shadow of her dead sister and pretty much abhorred by her teenage daughter Michelle knows she has to make a change. When she strikes a deal with her rebellious daughter to marry George Clooney her initial reasons were selfish – to stop her daughter Josie from sleeping with sweaty not-good-enough-for-her boyfriend Sean and well to possibly get to marry George Clooney. However, life has a funny way of twisting fate and making you see the bigger picture.
Ok, let me just start by saying two things. Firstly, I loved this story. It was funny, the characters were endearing and it was quite frankly unlike anything I have ever read before. Secondly, the storyline is absurd – people tend to take that word the wrong way. I assure I mean it in only the positive sense. It is such a bonkers, over the top, out of this world idea that it really did only have two ways of going. It would either work completely or it would fall apart hopelessly. Fortunately, for the readers of I Will Marry George Clooney (…By Christmas) and indeed for Tracy Bloom this book definitely falls into the former category.
What I think makes this book so special is that it focuses on the relationship between mother and daughter rather than the love story being the central theme; the uneasy relationship between Michelle and Josie strangely paradoxes the relationship between Michelle and her own mother, Kathleen. Michelle seems t get it from both sides. She cannot fill the shoes of her sister Jane who tragically died and she cannot be the mother that Josie wants her to be. Josie reacts and acts out due to the frustrations of not knowing who she really is and at her mother’s own willing to fade into the background rather than make anything of herself and, like any petulant teenager, makes Michelle feel all the more a bad mother for it by being snarky, disrespectful and disobedient. Kathleen doesn’t make things any easier on Michelle by always putting her down.
Yes, you can’t help but feel sorry for Michelle throughout this book, her confidence is at an all time low and she relies on her friends to remind her how wonderful she is. And truly, Bloom has created a rather marvellous character in Michelle. Bloom also succeeds in reminding her readers that life is short and you should become the hero in your own life story.
I Will Marry George Clooney (…By Christmas) by Tracy Bloom is available now.
You can follow Tracy Bloom on Twitter @TracyBBloom