Review: The Unexpected Salami by Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Posted: September 9, 2014 in Reviews
Tags: , ,

This review was originally posted at West of Mars. It is being posted here, at its new permanent home.

My book club read Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s The Matzo Ball Heiress. We loved it; it was a great romp through a fun story, and one most of us in my book club could relate to … in one way or another.

Then I picked up The Anglophile, her follow-up. I didn’t love it.

So what possessed me to pick up her first book, The Unexpected Salami?

Well, Matzo Ball was that good. And as a bonus, The Unexpected Salami has a rock theme: Rachel, our heroine, turns tail and runs home when the drummer of the band she’s been living with gets shot.

Definite rock theme there, especially when The Tall Poppies go on to have moderate success.

All the elements are there! A book by an author who’s penned another book I loved. Bands. Music. Rock and roll. What’s not to like?

Well, Rachel, for one. She’s whiny and so totally unlikeable, getting to the end of the book was difficult. It was a slog, a chore. It was, at times, torture. I kept wanting to smack her and tell her to grow up, get a clue, take some responsibility already. Not something you want to be reading as you’re trying to relax, unwind, and get ready for a good night’s sleep.

Since this is Rachel’s story, liking her is absolutely necessary. And since I couldn’t do that, I hated the rest of the book, too. It might have worked — part of the plot is her indecision about the men in her life — with someone who had at least one redeeming quality.

No go.

I’m now 2 for 3 with Ms. Shapiro’s books — and that 2 stands for dislike, not like. Loving that sophomore effort… I’m thinking that was the anomaly.

If you disagree with me and you thought The Unexpected Salami was great — or even good — leave your link in the comments. I’ll list any links here, and if you’ve written a really great review, I’ll link to that on the Rock Fiction page, too.

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