"Broken people make the best heroes."
--Liza Palmer, Girl Before a Mirror
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: January 27th, 2015
Source: Won from Goodreads
Previous Books by this Author: Nowhere But Home
Why do I want to kick myself in the face? Because it was that good. THAT amazing. THAT inspiring. I don't use the word inspiring often because when I say it I mean it. Girl Before a Mirror is about Anna, a 40 year old woman commited to landing an ad campaign that allows her to pitch to the big leagues in NYC at Quincy Pharmaceuticals, more specifically Lumineux shower gel. I hope I'm saying that right because I'm a nurse y'all, I don't work in business so this was a bit of a learning curve for me. Anyways, she is determined to make her name known and I loved this about her. While in some aspects of her life Anna was unsure and lacked confidence, when it came to elbowing her way into Lumineux shower gel, she took the reins even if she was terrified while doing so.
Anna's character is someone who a lot of women, if not all, can relate to on some level. She didn't thrive in social settings, second guesses herself in a lot of her decisions, and has a constant feeling of needing fulfillment. Her journey into self-acceptance of all the dents and dark places in her personality is beautiful. Sasha is a new employee, an artist, working with Anna on the campaign. Sasha. is. my. favorite. Beautiful, smart, talented, and zero clue how to handle men. I loved this about her and she is a character I really related to. What I loved most about her was hearing her trials and tribulations with men and Anna comments, 'After everything she's been through with men...she she still believes in love.' That is just...so powerful and so beautiful that she constantly rises up from the ashes of broken hearts and hurt feelings to still believe in the beauty and purity of love. Sasha is my spirit animal. I'm kind of in love with her.
The reason Sasha continues to be such a romantic brings us to our setting. She is an avid reader and lover of romance novels so when Anna finds 'Be Your Own Heroine, Find Your Hero' in her bag, it leads them to the Romance Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. A weekend long event of romance authors, panels, and a Mr RomanceCon pagent for the cover models...hello! The setting and situations Anna and Sasha face are hilarious and really help us know who our charcters are. It is at Anna's hotel that she meets Lincoln Mallory who she shares a connection...and torrid affair with. Their connection is deep and intense and Lincoln Mallory is a hero to swoon for. Wowza. They find themselves being at ease with one another and Anna feels like she is finally letting herself 'just be' who she is. She has always constantly worried and had to put on an act in fear people wouldn't love her for who she really is and Lincoln doens't make her feel that way. And I won't say more about that, you'll just have to read. Just know, the romance is awesome but that's not what stuck out to me.
What stuck out to me was the absolute beauty that is all the female empowerment going on. I love that. That is definitely a ME thing. Women realizing they are worth something, they are beautiful just the way they are, they are worthy of love and adoration is something I am all about. There are way too many ways and too much media influence on how many ways women are made to feel bad about themselves. Personally, it took me way too long to like myself. TO LIKE MYSELF. Why in the fuck are women hardwired to feel inadequate in this world? Why is it so difficult to LIKE ourselves. We are the only person who we can't get away from so why can't we even enjoy our own company? I can honestly say, it wasn't until I was 25 that I really accepted who I was, who I wasn't, who I was never going to be, and loving myself even more. It is a journey I know we have all struggled with and I am not alone in saying that it is a sad, sad world we live in where beautiful, smart, intelligent women have a means to feel bad about themselves.
This book is about tearing down that negativity and belief that we have to always be trying to be the perfect everything. We don't. We can 'Just Be' who we are, flaws and all, cellulite and muscles, wrinkles and imperfections. The way Liza Palmer takes this intricate topic and weaves it into the storyline is flawless. Her writing feels effortless and smooth and bobs and weaves it's way into your heart with her poignant words and honest feelings. The way Anna learns to beileve more in herself and take what she deserves is all kinds of badass and I was cheering for her the whole way. I loved reading how their words inspired so many women and it left me with such a happy feeling while I was reading and for quite a while after.
Ok, so this was my attempt at a review. I'm quite sure you've gained barely anything from the plot and me being a spazz about the characters and the message was all over the place BUT the feels are there. I loved this book. This should be on everybody's short list to read, especially if you are a woman. This is a book made for book clubs and discussion and thought-provoking questions.
Endgame? Read the book.
PS--I should also point out that this book got me excited to read ALL THE ROMANCE NOVELS EVER! HOW I made it through my whole life without reading a historical romance and contemporary romance novel is BEYOND me! Thanks to Alexa for all her amazing recs. Here are a few pics of my current obsession....*The only sad part is I don't have pictures of The Secret or Ransom by Julie Garwood as those are my first ever I read and still my favorites!!