“Sundays at Tiffany’s” by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
Eight-year-old girl has imaginary friend who she loves and adores. But on her ninth birthday, her imaginary friend leaves her. When the imaginary friend leaves, he says that she will forget about him the next day … except that she doesn’t. She remembers everything about her relationship with him and even writes a successful play about a girl and her imaginary friend. Now in her early thirties, Jane still thinks about her imaginary friend, Michael.
Eight-year-old Jane needed an imaginary friend because her mother was a successful and popular Broadway producer. The only time Vivienne carved out of her busy schedule was Sunday, when she and Jane spent their time at Tiffany’s, looking at and trying on all the pretty diamonds. When Vivienne was flying all over the world for business purposes, Michael was there to help Jane and, most importantly, be her friend and a person she could count on.
Now in her thirties, Jane’s life hasn’t changed much. She works for her mother and still seeks her approval. She yearns for her mother to accept and love her just the way she is. Jane has a no-good boyfriend who is an actor and is using her to become more famous. Jane is still nice to everyone she mets and works with. She still has a heart of gold. And she’s surprised by the success of her play that revolved around her friendship with Michael when she was a little girl.
One day, Michael and Jane meet again. Michael can’t believe that Jane didn’t forget about him … because that was one of those rules about being an imaginary friend. Once an imaginary friend was no longer needed or when the kid turned 9, they forget about their friend. And Jane can’t believe that Michael can be seen by other … not just her. He is an imaginary friend? Is he an angel? Is he on a mission? Why, after all of these years apart, do Michael and Jane find each other again?
When I read the summary of the book, it sounded like a very sweet story. But then I started reading it. Sweet turned into creepy. So many complaints … so little time. First, let’s start off with the font size of the book. Hello, large print. Second, hello very simple sentences that my 9-year-old nephew could read and understand. Seriously, I think my nephew, Ethan, could read and understand the book … although, a couple of chapters would be highly inappropriate for him.
Third, where’s the character development? The reader clearly knows who the villians and heroes are in the book. Mom is painted as bossy, controlling, domineering, unloving. Boyfriend is a loser with good looks but somehow manages to charm Jane with a smile. I wanted to root for Jane, but at times, she seemed like a doormat for people … well, at least she knew it. And Michael, well, I don’t have much to say about him because I don’t think I ever really got to know him (if that makes any sense).
Four, the creepy factor. After finding each other again, Michael and Jane fall in love after spending really cheesey days together. They walk through a park. They rollerblade. They have lunch and dinner. He brings her a gardenia because it’s her favorite flower. They talk about everything and anything. Their kisses are perfect. And they fall for each other. Uh, hello! This is ageless Michael (in his early thirties) and Jane who he’s known since she was a child! Hello, creepy factor.
Five, the unresolved mysteries. *SPOILER ALERT* Who Michael is and how the imaginary friend thing works is never really explained. And why he and Jane are reunited is never really explained. We’re led to believe that Jane is dying and that’s the reason why Michael and Jane find each other. Throughout the book, Jane has symptoms of feeling ill … in the end, it’s not Jane but then her illness or her symptoms were never explained.
Six, the really super cheesy ending. Blah. I’m all for a good happy ending. I truly am. The ending of the movie, “Sleepless in Seattle,” was fantastic. Loved it. The main characters in “Here to Stay” (please see book review #12) was predictable, but it was also sweet and charming. Happy endings can be done without adding an layer of cheese. I read the ending, and I rolled my eyes. And I made myself a promise.
I promise to never read another Jame Patterson book unless it’s “The Women’s Murder Club,” and even that series is dancing on thin ice with me (check out my review … I wasn’t kind). But authors who use recurring characters have me hooked, and I’m too dumb to stop reading. So score one for James Patterson.
Recommendation: * (one out of five stars)