Chick Lit Review #10: Amazing Grace by Tara FT Sering

I’ve been a fan of Tara Sering since her first Summit novel, which came free with a Cosmo issue way back when.  I have all her chick lit novels, as well as her ‘serious’ work, Reconnaissance, so I had to dig into this relatively new one of hers with Anvil’s Asian Chic line.  Amazing Grace, obviously a pun on the popular reality show, is about Grace and her action-packed quest to run after her fiancé Mike in three countries, just to claim the promise he made.  She believed Mike was The One, who had given her The Ring, so nothing was about to stop her from fulfilling her scheduled goal of living the happily wedded life.  Sure, it sounds like fodder for one too many chick lit stories—eerily like Claire Betita’s Girl Meets World—but the way Amazing Grace plays out is nothing like it. 

One thing the novel has going for it is the way Sering painted the environment, the characters, the purpose.  Despite the required romantic angle seen through the eyes (and timetable) of a woman in her mid- to late-20s, everything else is unbelievably, astonishingly real, without going the route of inundating the story with nuances here and there just to make it believable.  There are several things that actually make Sering’s work difficult (for a writer, at least) and obstacle-ridden:  75% of the story takes place in foreign locales, and it is written in the second person.  I wasn’t surprised to find that Sering did not disappoint—her trademark use of ‘you’ throughout succeeded in making me feel like I am Grace, in a hurry to settle down, and will do anything to latch on to the man who fit all my husband-related requirements.  Love is part of this equation, of course, and is ultimately the reason for the Asian adventure.  Traversing through Singapore, Bangkok, and Hong Kong with my sister Lena and her Singaporean friend Han to finally confront Mike about his plans for our life together (and why he was slowly becoming unreachable, despite the ever-accessible social media) was utterly suspenseful yet enjoyable, and left me palpitating.  How Sering concludes the journey is unexpected for a novel of this genre, as Grace had to realize that her man was not made of sterner stuff needed to face the world he created for himself.  It’s not the usual girl-gets-guy ending, and some may pass this novel over with this knowledge, but believe me—it is a much more satisfying conclusion that shifts from romance to self-love in the best way possible.  It says a lot about a woman’s passion, and keeping her sense of self intact in the process.

I didn’t mean to make it sound so serious, because this novel is extremely fun and hilarious.  But it’s intelligent at the same time, and Sering’s use of language is just one of the joys you’ll experience while reading.  So go get it and read it now, and you’ll definitely see how chicks rule.  Guess what I did after reading the last (it’s got a semi-postmodern epilogue) page?  I turned it around and read it again.


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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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