Review: Being Anti-Social by Leigh K Cunningham

@ Goodreads

Title: Being Anti-Social

Author: Leigh K Cunningham

Published: Vivante Publishing May 2012

Synopsis: Mace Evans is single at thirty-eight. When her much unloved older sister, Shannon, declares that Mace is anti-social, she embarks on a journey to understand her condition; whether she was born that way or if it is the accumulation of thirty-eight years of unfortunate encounters with other humans and dogs. For reasons unbeknown to Mace, she has an affair with a work colleague, which brings an unexpected end to her perfect marriage. And as if the self-imposed torture and regret is not enough, Mace endures ongoing judgment from her older sister and mother, which further exacerbates already tenuous relationships. With support from her four best friends, merlot and pizza, and with guidance from her life coach and mentor, Oscar Wilde, Mace recovers to a degree, but in her quest to understand her anti-social ways, she finds herself wondering about the quality of the fabric that keeps her network of friends intact. When Mace’s mother is diagnosed with cancer, Mace searches for common ground on which to connect before it is too late.

Status: Read from November 22 to 23, 2012 — I own a copy {Courtesy the author}

My Thoughts:

Despite Being Anti-Social’s cartoonish, pastel cover art I disagree with it being labeled as chick-lit. It lacks the light hearted approach to life and love that defines the genre and instead is a fairly serious minded analysis of character, though there are the occasional flashes of dry humor, mainly from well placed quotes by Oscar Wilde, who certainly has sage advice to offer for every occasion.

When Mace Evans is accused of being anti-social by her older sister she gives the complaint considerable thought. While she admits her idea of a good time is an evening spent alone with a bottle of merlot and a slab of chocolate on her couch, she resists the idea that she “unwilling or unable to associate in a normal or friendly way with other people”. Over the course of a year or so, as Mace approaches forty unmarried and childless, she examines her past and present relationships in an effort to define herself.

Being Anti-Social is well written but I found it difficult to sustain interest in what is essentially a first person monologue. Perhaps if I had been able to identify with Mace it wouldn’t have been such an issue but I found it difficult to like, or even understand her. She treats the people in her life carelessly, often with barely veiled contempt, and I thought her behaviour bordered on narcissistic, expecting family, friends, lovers and even colleagues to accommodate her personality ‘quirks’. Though there are incidents that counter her selfishness, and some signs of growth, I didn’t warm to her, which I think is crucial in such a character driven piece.

As I was unable to make that crucial connection with the main character, Being Anti-Social did not really work for me, despite the author’s technical proficiency. However I do think this novel would find an audience amongst readers who can relate to Mace and her journey.

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Leigh K Cunningham is a lawyer with a career as a senior executive for a number of public companies in her home country of Australia. She has master’s degrees in law (Master of International Trade & Investment Law) and commerce (Master of Commerce) as well as an MBA (International Management). RAIN, Leigh’s first title for the adult fiction market (April 2011) was named the winner in the Literary Fiction category at the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards. RAIN was also awarded a silver medal at the 2011 Independent Publisher Awards (IPPY) in the Regional Fiction: Australia/New Zealand category. RAIN was #1 on the Amazon bestseller list for Women’s Fiction (December 2011). Leigh’s first two children’s books, THE GLASS TABLE and its sequel, SHARDS are recipients of silver medals from the Mom’s Choice Awards. SHARDS was also a finalist at the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards in the Juvenile Fiction category. BEING ANTI-SOCIAL is Leigh’s latest title (May 2012). It has been awarded the Gold Medal at the 2012 Readers Favorite Awards in Chick-lit.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. laurelrainsnow
    Dec 01, 2012 @ 23:52:16

    I was curious about this one, as I’d read Rain by this author. I was disappointed by Rain, even though the writing was good. It felt as though the author was a detached observer. This one sounds similar….I think I’ll pass. Thanks for your review.

    Reply

  2. Laura Fabiani
    Dec 02, 2012 @ 06:18:11

    Definitely not for me. I don’t like the book cover either. It conveys a cute light-hearted read which doesn’t seem to be the case.

    Reply

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