Book Review: Leftovers by Arthur Wooten

7 Apr

Vivian Lawson’s fantasy of being the perfect 1950s suburban housewife is shattered when an uncontrollable event changes her life forever.

Destitute and left to fend for herself in a man’s world, she searches her New England town unable to find a job. With nowhere to turn, Vivian takes the advice of her wisecracking best friend, Babs, and reluctantly becomes a Tupperware lady.

Vivian struggles with low self-esteem as well as stage fright but with the support of Babs’ lovesick brother, Stew, and the creator of Tupperware’s Home Party Plan system, Brownie Wise, she may just find the strength to conquer her inner demons and take control of her life.

Set in 1950’s suburban America, Leftovers tells the story of Vivian Lawson and the ups and downs of her life. This is the first novel I’ve seen described as a ‘romantic dramedy’ but the description fits perfectly and Leftovers ticked all the right boxes for me by combining elements from my favourite genres to create a memorable story that really stands out.

Initially, Leftovers is a sad tale as we meet the downtrodden Vivian who is trying her best to be a domestic goddess but failing at every turn. Aside from her domestic failings Vivian is desperately trying to please a husband who is less than interested, longing for a child and has a fraught relationship with her own mother. As the story progresses a dramatic turn of events sees Vivian hit rock bottom. It’s at this point that the story really took off for me. I love a good transformation tale and Vivian’s is one of the most entertaining and enchanting that I’ve read. To say that Vivian becomes a Tupperware lady is an understatement as she meets Tupperware goddess Brownie Wise and starts to turn her life around.

I loved the historical detail that Arthur packed into the novel. Wooten is a very visual writer and I could easily see a film or TV series based in Vivian’s 1950’s world. The Tupperware events in particular had me fascinated and I was surprised to find that Brownie Wise and her annual ‘Jubilee’ were actually historical fact. Although Leftovers  is a fairly lighthearted quick read it’s also a nice commentary on the roles and chances that were opening up to women at the time and the changes that have come about in society in the last 60 years.

The characters are well drawn and I loved the contrast between mousy Vivian and her outgoing friend Babs. As well as helping her friend out of an awful situation, it is Babs that brings a lot of the comedy element to the novel. Leftovers also has a quirky romantic side as Vivian flatly refuses to see what’s right in front of her own eyes (both the good and bad) for much of the novel. I thought the ending to the story was really sweet and although not preachy, this is a novel that puts a high value on friendship.

Leftovers is the second of Arthur’s novels that I’ve read and he’s fast becoming one of my favourite indie authors. With wonderful characters and a thoroughly entertaining story, I highly recommend having some Leftovers as soon as possible!

5/5

Leftovers is officially launched today and I’d like to thank Arthur for sending me a copy to review.

You can find out more about Arthur and his writing on his website at: http://www.arthurwooten.com

 

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