Thursday, June 28, 2012

Book Review: Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook

Pages: 272 
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: June 5, 2012
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "From the acclaimed bestselling author of Must Love Dogs comes a winning and witty new novel about a woman who emerges from the shadow of her overbearing family and finds herself “dancing with the stars.” Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound. Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun. Irresistible and offbeat, Wallflower in Bloom is an original and deeply satisfying story of having the courage to take a leap into the spotlight, no matter where you land."
Deirdre Griffin is someone I immediately felt bad for.  She is her overbearing brother's assistant and all around peon.  Her brother is a famous guru that everyone fawns all over.  She even lives, along with the rest of her family, on his property in New England.  Her brother, Tag, is demanding, unappreciated and pompous; I'm not sure how Deirdre puts up with him on a daily basis as she rarely gets a say as to what happens in her own life. On one especially rough day, Deirdre finds out her on-again-off-again ex-boyfriend (who never wanted to get married or have a baby!) is doing exactly that with another girl.  He shows up at her door to tell her the news and Deirdre, rightly so, freaks out.  Later that night while intoxicated, she decides to use Tag's fan base to her her voted on Dancing with the Stars as she has always loved and enjoyed dancing.  She wants to do something for herself for once and it would be like chasing one of her dreams.  Claire Cook's Wallflower in Bloom is a quick summertime read that will have you smiling and rooting for Deirdre from the start.

Deirdre sort of reminded me of one of my favorite protagonists, Bridget Jones.  She has low self-esteem, is a tad overweight, is somewhat of a doormat, but has a funny attitude.  It takes a life-altering moment with her ex-boyfriend to make her take a chance and put herself out there.  From then on, it's a fun journey for Deirdre, especially if you are a fan of the television show, Dancing with the Stars.  My favorite part of the novel was reading about her metamorphosis, thanks to that show.

Deirdre's family in Wallflower in Bloom is quite interesting.  They all worship Tag as well and everyone seems to walk on eggshells around him.  I hated the way he treated Deirdre and I had a hard time with their banter.  They actually sounded like middle school students.  For me, it was one of the annoying aspects of the book. They are grown adults saying things that I know my middle school students say back and forth when they are picking on each other.  That was a little bit strange and frustrated me.  

If you are looking for a quick read with short chapters that's perfect for a lovely poolside day, then Wallflower in Bloom is a must read this summer. This is especially true if you are a fan of the underdog and the protagonist finally recognizing her full potential.  


  1. I love that the author incorporates Dancing with the Stars into this book, it's a great show! The character definitely sounds a lot like Bridget Jones, and it's interesting to see how she evolves through the book. I would definitely be annoyed with the talk, I hate when adults in books speak in a younger tone than they should. Sounds like a great little beach read. Great review :)

  2. It is definitely a fun beach read, esp if you like DTWS! Thanks for dropping by, Andrea!

  3. I love the sound of Deidre - anyone that's even remotely similar to Bridget Jones is a winner to me:) I don't love the sound of her family's banter and the immaturity of it, but the rest sounds highly enjoyable! Is the family prominent, or were you able to gloss over their banter when it showed up?

    Also, I see you're reading Sweet Evil, I hope you love it!

    1. I love Bridget Jones, too! Their weird banter took over a lot of the dialogue between two of the main characters, but after I acclimated to it, I was able to forgive their quirkiness....if that makes sense. Oh, and I am reading Sweet Evil right now and really enjoying it! :)


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