The Girl in the ’67 Beetle
by Linda Lenhoff
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
The art director of Kids Press, Amy Shepherd has been assigned to reinvent the story of Goldilocks, and she finds her own life reflecting a similar tale. Will she fall for a man who’s a little too old (but exciting), a man who’s a little too young (but awfully exciting looking), or a man who’s just right, at least as far as her friends are concerned? Or will she bring Goldilocks’ story—and her own—up to date with a little help from high-technology and the Goldilocks Planet theory? Amy will have to decide how her own tale will end, all the while driving her beloved powder blue convertible through the streets of Santa Monica, where she has become known as the Girl in the ’67 Beetle, the only thing in her life that, so far at least, feels just right.
I think it’s a sign of our times that when we feel low or confused, unsure or unloved, we look for someplace warm and comforting, with soft colors and soothing music, and find ourselves time and again at Pottery Barn. At least, my pal Susan and I do.
“Shopping has gotten a bad name,” Susan says. Susan is my bestie from college, though we don’t use the term bestie because it’s a little too cute, and Susan is a serious person. She has a serious face with a serious haircut—auburn tinted straight hair, excellent posture, and one of those fit bodies where everything’s proportioned right. I think it’s because she’s tall. But she doesn’t lord it over me or anything.
“It’s true,” I say. “I feel guilty shopping now. Even window shopping makes me look over my shoulder to make sure no one’s watching. When did this happen?”
“It’s all those TV shows where women in too much eye makeup are constantly shopping for shoes. “I’ve never willingly gone into one of those pricey shoe stores,” I say.
“Boutiques,” Susan corrects me.
“That’s a polite word for them,” I say. “What’s wrong with DSW? What’s wrong with grabbing your own size and putting shoes on yourself?” I ask.
“You just don’t get what it means to be a modern woman,” Susan says, raising her nose in the air. “A modern woman who spends money on shoes that hurt.”
“I’d rather have a nice quilt,” I say, looking at a nice quilt. It’s five hundred dollars, so I won’t be buying it, either. But at least if I did, it wouldn’t pinch my toes.
I am scanning the aisles of Trader Joe’s, looking for something celebratory but inexpensive for dinner. It is my anniversary, and I realize I’m acting a little like a New Agey Hallmark card for a thirty-four-year-old celebrating the first anniversary of her divorce (and you just know the card would be too pink, with a girl holding a martini glass with too much martini in it). Trader Joe’s is the grocery store where I came as a college student to buy very cheap wine (I still buy it) and big blocks of cheese (I’ve cut down on the cheese—dairy, you know). The store looks brand new, having undergone renovation this past year. A lot like me, but more fluorescent and way more noticeable. You can now find some form of chocolate at the end of almost every aisle. Something that makes me think they know I shop here, or there are a lot more women like me than I ever thought.
A crowd has gathered around the low-carb section, which thankfully isn’t too large an area. Lots of women studying the fine print. An older man is watching the low-carb folks, too. He looks
at me, and we share a smile. He then accidentally turns and knocks over an entire rack of chocolate bars (the ones with the white wrappers and hazelnuts inside, a very good choice), and the whole group of low carb-ettes turns to see, with looks of longing on their determined faces. The older man looks slightly bemused.
“You’re a tempter, is that it?” I ask, helping him pick up the bars. I put one in my basket. I don’t care if it fell on the floor.
“Who could resist?” he says, with a mischievous smile on his face. “Thanks for the help. I should buy you a chocolate bar,” he says.
“Please, I’m over thirty,” I joke. “You should buy me two.”
This is an adorable book. Yes, I used that word but it describes the book perfectly. What’s not to love about a children’s publishing company and rethinking a children’s classic story? But for the rethinking of the classic also mirrors the heroine’s life in ways that were refreshing, hilarious and touching at the same time. This book has that and more.
Amy is just now finding her way after a divorce from a guy that in hindsight, should have never married. But that’s a life lesson that she doesn’t want to repeat. There is a scene at the beach that for me, I would have slapped the guy but Amy doesn’t. However, I wished that she spit on him but that’s just me. It’s not that Amy is a weak person, so actually the opposite but she is taking it slow when it comes to dating again.
Her three choices were great. I could totally see the appeal of them all. For me, I think that she chose wisely. What endeared me to him was that he really truly was Amy equal. He treated her like she had a braincell but also let her be herself in the end. And that’s really all she wanted from a partner. The secondary characters in the book were wonderful. Shoot, I could read about Libby for a lifetime. She’s cute without being over cute.
Don’t worry about the romance. It’s sweet but it also makes you think about the choices that you have made in your life. I waited for my “Perfect for Me” guy and sometimes you do have to kiss a bunch of frogs to find the perfect one. I loved how Ms. Lenhoff let the relationships evolve and grow within themselves. And yes, this includes her workplace friends, too. I want to work with the publisher/museum place. I could stay there and play for a lifetime.
Overall, if you are looking for a sweet, adorable story that mirrors the classic story, this is for you. Plus, the humor and dialogue are spot on and relatable. Plus, Amy is just a wonderful character. Oooo, I forgot about the car. Well, its adorable, too. But come on, I’m a sucker for a classic any day of the week. 🙂
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Linda Lenhoff has worked in publishing as a writer and editor for several years, having edited nearly everything from makeup techniques (apply blush up and over the “apples” of your cheeks) at Seventeen Magazine to migraine studies (cut back on that chocolate) at research institutes. She has earned an MFA in Creative.
Writing, and her next novel, *Your Actual Life May Vary, will be published in 2022. Linda lives in California’s Bay Area with her husband and daughter. Contact Linda at (925) 784-9393, firstname.lastname@example.org,
https://lindalattelessons.wordpress.com. Author photo by Haley Nelson.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Linda Lenhoff will be awarding one printed copy book or a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.