A Pinch of Ooh La La by Renee Swindle is a witty, funny, relatable and direct mix of Sex and the City meets Ally McBeal satire. At the end of the book are readers guide questions for discussion, so here are my answers.
- What did you most enjoy about the novel? What will you remember about it long after you’ve finished reading it?
What I most enjoyed about the novel was Abbey and what I remember long after finishing reading about her is that I have a little Abbey in myself.
- In the beginning, Samuel seems so perfect that Abbey wonders why he hasn’t already been snatched up. Are you willing to share your own experience of a seemingly perfect man who turned out to be not so perfect after all?
Samuel and Abbey relationship made me take a look at my own relationships that didn’t turn out as I expected. http://angelajeter.hubpages.com/hub/HowI-lost-my-virginity-even-though-it-wasnt-my-1st-time
- What do you think of Abbey’s untraditional extended family? Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of living in such a family. Discuss in particular what Abbey gets from her family, and why she was willing to give up living with her mother on the East Coast in order to return to her father’s family.
Loved how Jazz is continuously mentioned in the book because Jazz has been described as insolent noise and all over the place, kind of like Abbey’s family + life, but when it all comes together it is beautiful noise that makes wonderful music. My point with this is just like Abbey mentioned in the book, “Family is what you make it.”
- Early on, Abbey gets one “red flag” about Samuel, but she convinces herself that his good points outweigh the negative. By the time she realizes there are significant ways in which they are incompatible, he is practically living with her. Does she jump into the relationship too fast? Or must every woman struggle with the question of how much of herself she should give up for a man.
Me personally, I think it is different for everyone varying on their circumstances and experiences in life. Paraphrasing from the book it felt right and it made her happy! She was in her 30s, she knew what she wanted out of life and she found it. I think as a person, just know what you want out of life and base your decisions off of the possible outcome of your choice, then ask yourself, is this worth it?
- Abbey sees Samuel’s father as an authoritarian figure who maintains control of his children through intimidation and abuse, yet Samuel defends him and credits his own success with parents’ insistence on discipline and achievement. How do you see Samuel’s father? What do we learn about how Bendrix achieved success, compared to Samuel?
I see Samuel father as I see how men see their daughters reputation and with that I mean, some men enjoy strip clubs, adult entertainment and intimacy without commitment, but as should as they have a daughter they want others to respect her, but where was it when it was someone else’s child? My theory is this; Samuel was more concern with his own reputation, not his son. Bendrix success vs. Samuel success was both conspired to achieve, so me it was equal and no comparison, as they both were expertise at their careers.
- Bendrix is Abbey’s best friend, and she comes close to saying that if he were straight, he’d be a perfect romantic partner for her. Do you agree? What do you think Bendrix and Abbey have together that she doesn’t have with Avery and then Samuel?
I disagree, because sex changes things, yes they are besties, but the pages where Samuel wanted Abbey to talk dirty to him and role play wasn’t for her. I think Bendrix and Abbey have no sexual relation and that is something she didn’t have with Avery and Samuel.
- Discuss the various couples who come to Abbey to discuss wedding cakes. It might be fun to imagine which ones will stay married and which will crash and burn.
Lol. I am an hopeless romantic & love <3, so for me. I hope they all stay together and nobody crash and burns!
- After each failed romantic relationship, Abbey reassesses her life. Talk about what she learns, how she changes, and what about her life she comes to appreciate more fully.
- For Abbey and Bendrix, tagging buildings (i.e., spraying graffiti art on them) is an act of joyous creativity as much as civil disobedience. Is some of their creativity inspired by the awareness that they’re breaking the law? Does their punishment fit the crime? Did you find Abbey’s arrest and community service at all funny, or were you disappointed in her?
They knew what they were doing and the punishment fitted the crime, it was funny and the outcome had a rewarding consequence.
- The death of an important character spurs Abbey to take action. Discuss these events, and especially what motivates her.
These events motivated her to be like the person who dies, take changes, live your life, and make the change you want to see in this world.
- At the end of the novel, Abbey seems to be headed for happiness, but the author doesn’t take her all the way there. Did you find that approach satisfying?
At the end of the novel, Abbey seems to be headed for happiness, but the author doesn’t take her all the way there. I find the approach satisfying because that is the temptation of life, comprise.
Should I stay with what I know or should I go into the unknown for possible happiness?!
Christina Angela Jeter is an avid reader, lover of NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) & Halloween Horror Fanatic. You can follow her on Twitter: @cjeter