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The Bright Side of Disaster: A Novel (edition 2008)

by Katherine Center

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2571444,496 (3.78)2
Member:Beth_Godfrey
Title:The Bright Side of Disaster: A Novel
Authors:Katherine Center
Info:Ballantine Books (2008), Paperback, 271 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center

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I really enjoyed this novel. Center did a wonderful job of creating really believable characters. Her description of the days and months after having a baby were so true and realistic - I found myself brought right back to my days with my first child as a newborn.

Center is a really fluid and easy writer to read. Its a pleasure picking up one of her books - this is the last of her three that I read - (i read them in backwards order I think!) I enjoyed it as much as the other two. Good for taking on a trip or reading by the pool - its nice and slim for traveling but is a good fast read that that completely engrossed me. ( )
  alanna1122 | Mar 12, 2012 |
Loved It: I read this book because several friends with a good sense of humor recommended it highly. It was funny - I laughed out loud - engaging, a great escape.
1 vote lonepalm | Dec 8, 2011 |
The Brighter Side of Disaster was a quick, light read but for me the actual plot lacked any real depth. Center illustrates Jenny's struggles with her unexpected single motherhood with honesty and humor. I recognised that helicopter mothering you do with your first child, the inability to have a shower for days at a time and that all consuming craving for sleep. Less realistic was her lack of concern for finances - I couldn't really figure out exactly how she was supporting herself though I assume Dean's parents and her parents were doing so. As a mother of 4 myself(with 3 born in 3 years), the challenges of motherhood of one child weren't sufficient to drive the plot for me.Mostly, the secondary characters were a little weak. The best friends role was superfluous, and Jenny's parent's could have been stronger. Even though Dean is absent for much of the novel he had a stronger presence than John, who remained one dimensional for me. The attraction between Jenny and John was predictable and convenient, with little shown under the surface.The Brighter Side of Disaster is a pleasant read but one that is almost immediately forgettable. ( )
  shelleyraec | May 9, 2011 |
Busy planning a wedding to her rock-star-dreaming boyfriend, Dean, Jenny Harris wasn’t quite prepared for a little surprise headed the couple’s way: a baby. Just months from their wedding day, Jenny’s pregnancy has thrown everyone for a loop . . . especially her fiance. When Dean begins acting strangely and then announces his departure, Jenny must pull herself “up by her bootstraps,” as her father would tell her, and prepare for the arrival of a little one. Even if she’s doing it alone.

Katherine Center’s The Bright Side Of Disaster, the author’s 2007 debut, was — more than anything — a shocking portrayal of first-time motherhood. And though Center is still a no-fail author for me, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as her more recent efforts, Everyone Is Beautiful and Get Lucky.

From the get-go, something about this one fell flat for me. While I appreciated Jenny as a resilient character, I was still frustrated by many of the silly decisions she made. I can understand that she’s a young woman trying to figure out a difficult situation, but the way she let Dean in and out of her life grated on my nerves. Jenny is the good friend you see screwing up all over the place and badly want to tell the truth, but you’re too afraid of hurting her feelings. What she really needed was someone to throw a bucket of cold water on her face and shout, “Get a grip!”

But, you know. That happens to all of us sometimes.

The strength of the novel comes from Center’s ability to portray, with stunning clarity, just how difficult it is to be a parent. On the flip side? Well, that’s also the book’s downfall. Having no kids myself, I’ll be frank: The Bright Side Of Disaster scared the tar out of me. If I remember little else about this book (and I might not, to be honest), one scene will stay with me forever: Jenny’s birthing scene. Oh. My. Goodness.

Just . . . I’ll stop there. It’s terrifying.

A few side characters provided distractions from the chaotic monotony (is that possible?) that becomes Jenny’s life with her newborn: the handsome neighbor down the street, Gardner, who steps in and mans up when Dean won’t; Jenny’s divorced-but-maybe-still-in-love parents, who provide much needed levity; Claudia, a new mommy friend who contributes perspective. But overall, I wasn’t too interested in the side plots or invested in Dean and Jenny’s back-and-forth relationship. It was obvious what she needed to do from the start.

Center is an engaging, warm writer — and I still love her! At the risk of sounding condescending, it’s obvious how well her writing has progressed in the two novels she’s penned since this release. The Bright Side Of Disaster is a fast read, yes — and I’m sure parents will see shades of themselves in the up-all-night baby stories. But it wasn’t a homerun for me. ( )
  writemeg | Feb 21, 2011 |
This was an example of good writing. It didn't do character development really well, and still I couldn't put it down, which speaks volumes, I think, when I'm a character snob. Its about a fiance left a day before the birth of their daughter and the growing up she has to do in the process. I'm left wanting to know more about these people I've just spent a day and half with, but know it probably won't happen. Sometimes I guess thats better. ( )
  Kace | Jan 30, 2010 |
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For my mother, Deborah Inez Detering, who always loves me anyway
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The end began with a plane crash.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345497961, Paperback)

Sometimes the worst thing that can happen is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.

Very pregnant and not quite married, Jenny Harris doesn’t mind that she and her live-in fiancé, Dean, accidentally started their family a little earlier than planned. But Dean is acting distant, and the night he runs out for cigarettes and doesn’t come back, he demotes himself from future husband to sperm donor. And the very next day, Jenny goes into labor.

In the months that follow, Jenny plunges into a life she never anticipated: single motherhood. At least with the sleep deprivation, sore boobs, and fits of crying (both hers and the baby’s), there’s not much time to dwell on her broken heart. And things are looking up: Jenny learns how to do everything one-handed, makes friends in a mommy group, and even gets to know a handsome, helpful neighbor. But Dean is never far from Jenny’s thoughts or, it turns out, her doorstep, and in the end she must choose between the old life she thought she wanted and the new life she’s been lucky to find.

“Beautifully penned and truly memorable . . . a heartwarming and deeply emotional debut.”
–BookPage

The Bright Side of Disaster is a treat of a book. It is so warm, so smart, so touching, so wise–and, despite its poignancy, you read the whole thing with a laugh in your throat.”
–Anna Maxted, author of A Tale of Two Sisters

“Novels as polished and mature as The Bright Side of Disaster just don’t come along very often from first-time novelists or, for that matter, from those with much longer résumés. . . . This story of a youthful-but-optimistic single mom rings bittersweet and utterly authentic.”
–The Dallas Morning News

“A funny and poignant novel about love, motherhood and men . . . elevates the subject matter beyond the realm of ‘mommy lit.’ ”
–Houston Chronicle

Don’t miss the reading group guide in the back of the book.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:21 -0400)

Jenny Harris always expected that she'd fall in love, get married, and have a baby--in that order. Now, very pregnant and not quite married, she actually doesn't mind that she and her live-in fiance, Dean, started their family earlier than planned. But then one night Dean runs out for cigarettes and just doesn't come back, and the very next day, Jenny goes into labor. She never anticipated single motherhood--but at least there's not much time to dwell on her broken heart. --From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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