Fat Fridays Review
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It’s often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. But in Fat Fridays, the first book in a new series by author Judith Keim, a group of women finds themselves opening their hearts to each other during their weekly indulgence at their favorite restaurants.

The story follows five women as they stand together through difficult times. When Sukie comes unhinged after discovering that her husband has been having an affair with her much-younger Pilates instructor, she finds herself at the center of their small Georgia town’s gossip. But she finds friendship and support from the women of the Fat Fridays group—four other women who meet each week to talk and eat. And though these women are all very different in age, relationship status, and social standing, they quickly build a strong bond.

  
 
Fat Fridays sets up a story about the strength of women and the power of their friendships. The characters’ situations may be serious—and sometimes even dangerous— but the novel itself never really feels too heavy. Instead, it’s a light read with some steamy romantic moments to spice things up.

The focus, however, tends to be placed more on building major conflicts for each one of the characters than on building the characters and their relationships. It makes for a cluttered story, with conflict that sometimes feels forced and unnatural. It seems strange, after all, that all of the women in this group would be dealing with major issues in their lives at the same time—from divorce to abuse to running from a troubled past. And it takes so much time to develop each struggle that the characters themselves feel thin—and their bond never feels as strong as the author repeatedly claims that it is.

Many of the characters, too, can be frustrating. Sukie handles a new relationship with all of the insecurity and irrationality of a teenager. Newlywed Tiffany’s in-laws are almost comically villainous. And single girl Carol Ann is so desperate and shallow that even the other women in this supposedly tight-knit group can’t seem to stand her (and readers will have a hard time with her, too). And all of the male characters—with just a couple of exceptions—are downright dastardly. Perhaps they’ll grow and develop more in upcoming installments, but the characters and their extreme behavior tend to give the series an uncertain introduction.

Fat Fridays seems to promise a light, fun story about the strong bonds between women. But its characters aren’t as solid and likable as they could be—and the result is a fluffy and sometimes frustrating start to a new series.


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