By Jody  Gehrman

Book #13 of this year

Claudia Bloom has incredibly bad luck. She blows up a bus she drives from Texas to California. She falls recklessly in love with her rescuer, a sexy biker dude, Clay Parker. When she starts her new teaching job, she has his wife as a colleague and his mother for a boss. She gets drunk a lot and runs into her students at the bars. She can’t seem to figure out what to teach. And most of the time just stumbles from crash to explosion to some other kind of crisis.

How tart.

The whole time I was reading this, I sympathized at times with all Claudia’s misfortune, and at others I just shook my head at her impulsive drunken actions and overall reckless behavior. It’s the kind of book that makes you feel good as a woman because of her determination to be a part of something important in the end, and I can’t help but feel inspired by her individualism.

A major theme of this book is the concept of being Tart” “sharp or caustic in spirit” or “sweet, sour, tangy, sexy, bad”. There’s this strong desire within Claudia to preserve the tartness of her 20’s. She has this image of what she used to be when she was younger – youthful, promiscuous, elusive – and she strives to maintain this lifestyle as she crosses the threshold of her 30’s.  While I don’t think it’s necessarily healthy to chase this dream of youthfulness all throughout your life, the fact that she’s trying to hold onto a younger, more exciting version of herself feels good to read about.

Even as a young adult in my “prime years” who doesn’t have to find ways to preserve my youth just yet, this story still encouraged me to find ways to be myself and not let go of my wild fun side. I’m glad I don’t have such an obsession with appearing exciting that I have to base all my decisions around it. But I think everyone could do with a little dash of tart in their lives.

Be wild!

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