Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Undiscovered Goddess by Michelle Colston

The Undiscovered Goddess is the breakout novel by author Michelle Colston. I requested a copy of this book based on the blurb I read over at Goodreads.

Who knew a Cosmo quiz and a bottle of wine could change a woman's life? Holly, housewife and frazzled mother of three, is determined to discredit the lackluster result of a Cosmopolitan magazine quiz. After buying a workbook geared toward helping her find her inner goddess, Holly sets off on a year of self-discovery, journaling through each exercise as she goes. Facing inner demons, yoga, an explosive colon cleans and REALLY spicy curry, the lessons are hard on her emotions, not to mention her digestive system. But does she succeed in the end? Beyond the superficial, what important lessons does Holly's inner goddess have the power to teach her...and what can Holly teach you?

Let me tell you, I loved Holly right off the bat. My first impression was that she actually talks a lot like me. She's full of sarcasm and sardonic wit. She's sassy. I wanted to give her a hug and be her best friend. I was thrilled at the beginning of the novel and couldn't wait to get going.

And very shortly, the author had me hooked. Her writing is wonderful. It's very descriptive and easily puts good, solid imagery in your head. She is brilliant at this. Even though the characters beyond Holly really play a fairly minor role, they are still very well written and can stand on their own. There are wonderful descriptive events and plenty of awkward and hilarious moments. I really enjoyed those.

It was the use of the workbook that threw me. It really made this like a novel mixed with a self-help book. That turned me off a little bit right away, but I'll admit that it did work to a certain extent. In the early stages of the book, I started to get a little bored and cynical about this plot method until I realized that Holly really could be me. Her weaknesses seem to be the same as my own. Like Holly poopooing the "fear chapter, was I rolling my eyes (metaphorically) simply because I didn't want to face what I could identify with? I don't know if this eventually helped or hurt the book. I tend to think it might have hurt it, simply because I got a little too much of the feels involved and maybe took some personal offense to Holly's self-criticisms and changes.

In fact, Holly's transformation became a little too much for me. It was as if she swung too much to one side rather than making minor, believable changes in herself. The more "hippie" she became, the more I felt a voice of "this isn't for me." In some instances, it was like having my lifestyle mocked in a novel--as if I'm less if I don't take the same pathway and "become enlightened". Her alteration was a bit too warm and fuzzy to me--too fake. The loss of credibility in her metamorphosis turned me off a little. Had she changed in a more moderate way, then I think I may have been able to deal with the self-help style a little better. Perhaps I wouldn't have been as turned off by the "namaste" approach.

In the end, this simply didn't do what I expected. That was my primary issue. The writing was good, the main character was inherently great, but I was expecting a light-hearted and quippy fiction novel with a bouncy plot. Instead, what I got was a diary...and a bit more "namaste" than I had planned on.

I do, however, look forward to seeing more from Michelle Colston. I think she has some great talent and her abilities will only improve. This one just wasn't my particular style. I think that there was a lot within the novel that held a good amount of potential, it just wasn't used.

I struggled with where to place this book in terms of ratings. I did actually like the book, just not as much as I wanted to. That meant that the book had to be rated at either a 3 or a 4. Once again, this is a case for needing Goodreads to work in terms of half stars...so I do it on my own. The Undiscovered Goddess by Michelle Colston rates 3.5 out of 5 stars for me.

I received this book as a free copy from NetGalley. These books are given to me as review copies to read and evaluate. I am not obligated to write a review for any of the books I receive, but it is an encouraged practice. I choose which books I review on my blog and on my Goodreads profile. I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews. My reviews are always honest...I never lie about books. My opinions are my own and may be positive or negative depending on my feelings about a specific piece. Keep in mind, just because I may like or not like a book may not mean that you will feel the same way.


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