BOOK CLUB: What Would LaVonda Robinette Do?

“What Would LaVonda Robinette Do?” by Kirsten Maron is a funny and incisive novel about a woman whose life is abruptly and involuntarily changing in multiple ways.

LaVonda is not having a good day. It’s her birthday, but instead of being spoiled and pampered, her husband leaves her. She has her first hot flash, and the new guy at work is astonishingly rude to her. Not to mention that her daughter is still involved with a most unsuitable man, and her sisters are too busy to celebrate with her until the weekend.

And then LaVonda kind of accidentally, well, okay, it was sorta on purpose, but she didn’t really mean to, commits her first murder. And with more hot flashes, unreasonable demands from her husband, and worry about her daughter and sisters, LaVonda begins to see how a few more murders could make the world so much better.

LaVonda is a surprisingly effective heroine. Frankly, in a lot of ways, she’s not very attractive. She’s a bit of a know it all, judgemental, self-righteous, and not very empathetic towards others. Yet you’ll find yourself on her side. Most will understand her worry about her daughter and siblings. Even if it’s a bit judgemental. Women of a certain age will most definitely sympathise with her menopausal challenges. Faced with the same provocations, many would at the very least fantasize about murder.

We’re in LaVonda’s head for most of the novel, and her self-absorption leaves limited room for understanding other people. Even so, they’re believable characters. Her sisters in particular stood out to me as credible characters with their own lives and problems. Her husband was a bit shadowy, but then again that might be why he left – LaVonda doesn’t “see” him.

The blurb on this novel led me to expect a novel that would fit into the crime genre, but that’s not how I’d classify this. It’s more of a contemporary novel with some criminal aspects. LaVonda is murderous, but somehow that doesn’t seem the most important part of the novel -or her character – when you’re reading. Readers expecting a more classic crime novel may be disappointed.

The writing is sharp and funny. This is a subtle, sarcastic kind of humour, rather than laugh out loud. I found it worked well with the murderous themes in the novel and really suited the characters and story. This is a novel that hits its mark.

I really enjoyed this. The action moves along at a good clip, powered by LaVonda’s unstable and changeable emotional states and somewhat erratic behaviour. It’s all quite credible, too. LaVonda might not be likeable, but she and her story are very engaging. The situations will generate a fair bit of sympathy from readers.

In short, this is a novel that I think a lot of people will enjoy, particularly women.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading What Would LaVonda Robinette Do? by Kirsten Maron. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

ISBN: 978-1-922444-42-4 / Publisher: Shawling Publishing

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