Chick Lit Review #9: No Strings Attached by Mina V. Esguerra

I have an older book by Mina V. Esguerra which I remember liking a lot, but it's been a while back that I can't recall the entire story.  Will have to write a review of it sometime soon.

No Strings Attached is quite interesting, insightful in many ways, particularly of the single lifestyle choice.  The story is about Carla, who, like many of us, has been bullied by well-meaning friends to settle into a stable relationship with a stable guy who would be able to afford the occasional LV bag.  Because this might mean limiting the choices to bankers and stock brokers--no offense--the best thing to do is go with someone the exact opposite of what is expected.  And this is precisely what Carla does, to the surprise and disapproval of her friends, as they were all poised to begin their lives as serious thirtysomethings.  Carla's new guy Dante is 24, a teacher, and the son of her boss' boss.

The narrative goes through some relatively fresh twists, specifically by showing Carla wanting to be the epitome of singledom while Dante had his heart set on commitment.  The sex was good, their relationship easy and comfortable.  But Carla's worried friends just had to be there to create trouble.  All's well that ends well, as Carla and Dante resolve to be at least no-nonsense the second time around.   I thought Esguerra pulled off each character well and convincingly enough, especially with Carla, who seemed to be quite wishy-washy (there is a reason for this); her friends Tonio and Mary both had very strong and defined personalities that one as mellow as Carla's would be rendered dull instantly.  But this was not the case, and it was this kind of outward weakness and internal conflict that gave Carla more dimension.  Dante was cool enough, but possibly too perfect that he ended up, in my opinion, as mere decor.  

Language was good, dialogue believable.  Carla can sometimes be annoying and bratty, but that's part of her characterization.  I do have a little issue with the story, though:  there seems to be little excitement (aside from Carla's almost-R date with another guy) in terms of plot, and in the end I just had warm, fuzzy feelings--as opposed to a balance of drama and reality.  Then again, if the book was a film, it would be one of those quiet, understated indie movies.

Read this.  Especially if you're turning or over 30.


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"It's really hard to walk in a single woman's shoes--that's why you sometimes need really special ones, to make the walk a bit more fun."

- Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
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