|Whitney Gaskell: Pushing 30|
(Trade paperback), ISBN 0-552-38224-1
A few months shy of her thirtieth birthday, Ellie Winters dumps her boyfriend, Eric. All her life, this Good Girl did exactly what everyone wanted her to. She chose law school and a career as a D.C. attorney to please her father, a judge, but she hates her career. And somehow she tolerates her diva mother's self-centeredness and tantrums. After attending a high school friend's wedding, Ellie realizes that she remains as the last single woman of her little group.
While looking her ugliest (wearing sweats and a ball cap while running out for another bottle of hair dye after a bad home dye job) she bumps into Ted. Actually, Ellie's spoiled pug, Sally, bumps into Ted Langston. He asks her out, but their first date ends in disaster when she discovers that he thought they were almost the same age -- nearly 50! She walks out of the restaurant, panicking about how old she must look for him to make that mistake.
They bump into each other off and on, and he gets her a freelance gig drawing cartoons and caricatures for a Web site. Eventually they begin dating, but he remains uncomfortable with the age difference.
Ellie's world soon comes crashing down around her. She meets Ted's ex-wife, Alice, who clearly wants Ted back. After a horrid Thanksgiving with her family, she returns to D.C. to retrieve her dog from Ted's apartment and comes face to face with Alice. At Ted's apartment. Wearing Ted's bathrobe and little else.
Despite hundreds of phone calls from Ted, Ellie refuses to speak to him, to let him explain. Then the most important papers of her career-making lawsuit disappear. Ellie knows that the vindictive Katherine, another associate at the law firm, stole the papers but doesn't bring it to anyone's attention when the firm fires her. All the while, Ellie's best friend Nina draws farther away. Nina's new boyfriend, Josiah, doesn't want Nina to hang out or even speak to her friends.
Isolated from nearly everyone, Christmas becomes the last straw. Ellie couldn't find the right time to tell her family of her firing, so she explodes at a holiday cocktail party after being badgered by everyone there. A huge family fight ensues after the party -- Ellie finally confronts her father about his emotional distance and her mother on her selfishness. With everyone stewing, Ellie returns to D.C. to spend Christmas Day alone with Sally. But with her thirtieth birthday on January 1 nearly here, big changes involving both Ted and Nina turn her life around.
Whitney Gaskell writes a delightful and hip romance. Ellie and her neuroses come across as completely believable, as do all of the supporting characters. This book makes for a nice light read.
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