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She's Got Issues    by Stephanie Lessing Amazon.com order for
She's Got Issues
by Stephanie Lessing
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2005 (2005)
Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

One can't say enough about this intelligently funny debut novel by Stephanie Lessing. She's Got Issues reads like chick lit, but with a lot more insight and wit than the average in the genre. With laugh out loud humor, Lessing has created a character who is exasperating, naive, and yet lovable at the same time. I will remember her story for a very long time. Chloe Rose is a totally clueless young woman. She seems to be living in her own little world, where dreams always come true and shoes are her best friends. She obviously wears rose-colored glasses, because she doesn't understand that there are people who may be out to get you.

Take for instance Chloe's new boss, Ruth. Chloe for some reason admires and respects Ruth, while Ruth does her best to steal Chloe's marketing ideas, and keeps her at the copy machine for days on end. The things Ruth does to Chloe on a day-to-day basis are almost too sad, so that you want to give Chloe a hug, and at the same time to slap some sense into her. Most people think she's loony, and what makes this novel so funny is NOT what Chloe says or does, but how people react to what she says and does. While Chloe goes about her business, blurting out things that she should have kept to herself, people around her often cannot believe what they hear coming out of her mouth. And finding Chloe in a shoe closet talking to the shoes can be a normal experience.

Chloe's mind seems to be that of a child, dreaming of her Prince Charming and wishing to become a 'shoe editor'. But it isn't until she meets Stan, that she feels her dreams are finally coming true. This in itself will make the reader shake her head; Chloe has no idea who Stan really is, and when the reader and Chloe both find out, it is time for another set of laughs. It is so unbelievable how simple-minded and clueless Chloe can be. And yet, she can also be astute and wise. Every once in a while, she will say something so profound, that one thinks twice about her. And when she memorizes paragraphs upon paragraphs from her sister's boyfriend's economics book, reciting them out loud without understanding one word, the reader has to laugh again.

Narrated by Chloe, this is a novel that should not be missed. It has one funny scene after another, filled with characters who can be as stereotypical as they come, but together it works. Chloe's feminist sister ZoŽ is a hoot, making one wonder how two siblings can be so different. While Chloe dreams of her shoes, ZoŽ dreams of ways to take revenge on all those who cause her sister pain. Ruth is the boss from hell, and Chloe's dream man Stan makes one hope that dreams do come true, at least in Chloe's universe. Three cheers for Chloe and She's Got Issues. I'm already looking forward to the sequel.

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