Sunday, March 8, 2015

Review of 'Just Pru' by Anne Pfeffer

Contemporary Women's Fiction
Date Published: March 2, 2015

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When twenty-five-year-old Pru Anderson—braless, pajama-clad, and clutching her cat, Chuck—is rescued from her burning Los Angeles apartment, the thing that scares her most is meeting the neighbors. New people make her hide in the bathroom, counting by sevens, but when her home is destroyed, she must turn strangers into friends …  or crawl back to the controlling parents she only recently escaped.

What would her idol, Pepper Hathaway, do? That’s a no brainer: the detective-slash-supermodel heroine from Pru's favorite TV series would take no prisoners while looking fierce in a tankini and stilettos. So when the chance comes up to live with playwright Ellen, Pru sets aside her fears and goes for it.

Thus begin the adventures a girl who's never had a job, a friend, or a first kiss. Swept into Ellen's whirlwind life, Pru begins to build her own, as director's assistant for a new play, muse to brooding actor Blake, and possible love interest to adorably neurotic neighbor, Adam.

Only one thing can derail Pru's exhilarating journey. Well, actually, it's two things—and they're in a car headed straight for LA to torpedo her life. When the past that nearly destroyed her comes calling, who will she be: a Prudence or a Pepper?

**My thoughts**

Anne Pfeffer is an easy one-click for me, every time. I have been reading her books from the very beginning and am never disappointed. I think Pru is my favorite character to date. She is a shell of a woman, having overbearing parents who took her anxiety and more and perpetuated the problems by keeping her on a choke collar and claiming to protect her from the outer world, and supposedly herself. Instead of ever giving her encouragement and helping her to come out of that shell, they have always ridiculed and belittled her. To me, it's abusive. How she ever managed to gather up the courage to move from Oregon to LA is beyond me. But the fact that she did it shows an inner strength that she doesn't yet know that she has.

She immediately has to call up on that strength when her apartment burns down. She has no money, no clothes, no cell phone, nothing. She has to become resourceful and learn to talk to people, let alone actually trust them. She believes that she can only function with the help of her beloved therapist, who just dropped dead from a heart attack. As she journals her adventures, she calls upon his words and advice, growing into a strong and capable woman up to whom others look for guidance and wisdom. At the same time, she is living her life based on WWPD (What Would Pepper Do?), thus giving her another source of external strength that builds her inner confidence.

Pru's naivety makes her absolutely endearing. Her perspective on life is refreshing among her new friends, as they have been somewhat jaded by their own experiences. They have forgotten about innocence and taking care of themselves, losing sight of the important things in life. As they work to help this poor homeless transplant, they end up being helped by her. All of their lives are forever changed by this fire and one meek young woman. I liked every single one of them, which often doesn't happen. Even the ones you want to loathe in the beginning end up redeeming themselves in some way by the end of the book.

Just Pru is a work of fiction that rings true in so many ways. I enjoyed every minute of it and wish there was more to come!

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