Kyra's star ratings:
Characters: * * * * *
Story: * * * *
Writing: * * * *
Emotional engagement: * * * *
(I received a free advance reader copy of this book for the purpose of giving an honest review.)
How I Exiled My Inner Bitch is, hmm, I'd call it a chick lit (in a good way; some people seem to see the term as derogatory, but to me it conjures up breezy, hip, fast-paced tales of young women making their way through the tangles of relationships and careers in the modern world) with either a fantasy twist or a psychological edge, depending on how you look at it. Since the age of ten, Dionne, neglected by her mother and bullied by her older sisters and everyone else, has relied on Lionne, her imaginary friend, to get through life and protect her feelings with an attitude of, well, bitchiness. Lionne is very real to Dionne (and to the reader), and has her own distinct personality and style, but no one else can see her, which leads Dionne to live her life without allowing herself to get too attached to anyone or anything else. Until she meets the perfect man - then she's forced to choose between living her life Lionne's way, as she's done until now, or taking the chance of getting hurt, and learns that there are more ways to live life on your own terms than by pushing everyone else away.
All the characters are distinctly and vividly drawn, even Dionne's three triplet sisters, and I found myself loving or loving-to-hate all of them, or even, in a few cases, going from one to the other as the character grew and changed, or even both at once. I really wanted Dionne to find a way to find real happiness in her life, and was particularly affected by her growing relationship with Georgia, Greg's (her boyfriend) troubled younger daughter. Lionne came just to the edge of being annoying enough that normally I'd be tempted to put the book down, but apparently Dionne had come to feel the same way about her at that point and that's when she started to take control of her own life.
The writing is crisp and fast-paced. The author has a background in screenwriting, and the book reads in a very immediate way, as though it's playing out on a screen in front of you. For my taste, it got a little breathless at times, and the pace made it a little hard for me to really get absorbed into the book. Otherwise, though, the writing style is very clear and polished.
How I Exiled My Inner Bitch is a quick, fun, well-crafted read with an uplifting message that in order to really live, you have to be willing to take some chances.