Twenty-eight year old Andrea returns home from a business trip fully expecting her live in boyfriend of 14 years, Alex, to propose to her. Instead, she comes home to find he has packed up all his belongings and is leaving her for a woman who he claims is Andrea’s complete opposite. After spending a few weeks holed up alone in her apartment, Andrea devises a plan to get Alex back. If he wants someone completely different, than she will reverse everything about herself! But after completing her life shake up Andrea will have to decide what it means to change everything in an attempt to get back to what life used to be.
I assumed that Heather Wardell’s novel, A Life that Fits would be a simple tale of the reinvented woman who takes off her glasses and buys a push-up bra only to finally land her man (think She’s All That and every other rom com that tells young woman that all they need is a makeover to snag a boyfriend). I was pleased to be wrong because instead of wadding in the (pun intended) shallow end, Wardell pulls the reader into the emotional depths of a shattered life plan and what it feels like to put it back together. Wardell’s main character, Andrea, seems to make all her changes based on what her ex never supported her in before and therefore begins to discover the individual woman she. I easily related to Andrea as she cultivated who she was. I think that others would also relate as many of us have someone in our lives that we can never be our authentic self around.
I also think that A Life that Fits is about dealing with and becoming empowered to leave behind emotionally abusive relationships. There is very little redeeming about Andrea’s ex, Alex, and as the story unfolds it is clear that he preys on women’s insecurities and manipulates them to his desires. There were points in the novel that I was acutely fearful for Andrea. Alex’s emotionally abusive behaviour is the most clear when placed in contrast to Andrea’s co-worker and crush, Loren who is kind, supportive and encourages Andrea in all she does.
Wardell has a knack for making the reader emotionally invested. At times the amount of drama was overwhelming. On the one hand, I had to question how anyone in Andrea’s office was able to get any work done as the Soap Opera-esque drama unfolded daily. But on the other hand, there is a healthy dose of romantic drama such as the rainy day kiss that steamed up my windows and left me gasping for air. To this I say, bravo!
I have to note how pleased I am that Wardell is a Canadian writer and that her story setting is in the city I adore, Toronto. By chance, I finished reading A Life that Fits while spending a few hours on the VIA train heading into the T-Dot. The mention of locations like Canada’s Wonderland and the Eaton’s Centre makes my little Ontarian heart burst! Maybe it is cheesy, but I like when stories are based in locations I have grown up in and it makes me glad to know that there is modern chick-lit/women’s literature being written just down the 401 from me.
As a personal aside, A Life that Fits came at a perfect time in my life. As I have written about previously I am in the middle of a life shake up and Andrea’s advice of listening to one’s gut has come in handy. If we listen very carefully to ourselves and block out the voices that berate us and cause doubt, than we can always find the path we need to be on.
I recommend A Life that Fits to everyone. It is wonderfully written, taking the reader on an emotional journey of a woman’s self discovery and empowerment that you won’t be able to put down!
I read A Life that Fits on my Sony eBook reader. The body of the text was formatted well, however since the file was a .pdf there was no chapter selection or table of contents. You can choose which page number to jump to. A Life that Fits was 158 pages long on medium font setting.