Jill A. Davis,
Ask Again Later
(Harper, 2007)

The pages of Ask Again Later are filled with Emily's issues, quirks and excessive introspection. Author Jill Davis paints her characters with a sympathetic and insightful brush that expertly combines both the serious and the amusing. This makes it easy and intriguing to follow the main character through her personal maze of personalities and questions.

The fact that Davis manages to infuse this first-person narrative with a real sense of perspective without conflicting with any of Emily's own perceptions or conclusions brings a genuine and touching quality to this book that urges readers to engage and invest in Emily's story.

Davis's journalistic and television background serves her well in leading her readers through drawn-out, tension-laden situations. While it's clear that time and changes are influencing her characters, Davis's readers only need to deal with cancer treatments, long-term relationship issues or tedious jobs in short segments. Ask Again Later flows through bit-sized glimpses of Emily's life and thoughts that fit together closely enough to form a natural, easily accessible picture.

While the book's balance shifts a bit off to focus on only a few of Emily's ultimate conclusions in the ending, leaving the reader with a somewhat vague idea of the future, her past and present journey is interesting and well written. Moreover, Davis's easy-to-read quality gives this novel a graceful, soothing tone that urges readers to both enjoy the humorous side of life and appreciate the deeper moments.

[ visit the author's website ]

review by
Whitney Mallenby

9 January 2010

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