Review: The Seven Steps to Closure

17791526Title: The Seven Steps to Closure
Author: Donna Joy Usher
Publisher: Lush Publications
Release Date: May 2012
Length: 410 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Humor, Romance

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

Tara Babcock awakes the morning after her 30th birthday with a hangover that could kill an elephant – and the knowledge she is still no closer to achieving closure on her marriage breakup. Things go from bad to worse when she discovers that, not only is her ex-husband engaged to her cousin – Tash, the woman he left her for – but that Jake is also running for Lord Mayor of Sydney.

Desperate to leave the destructive relationship behind and with nothing to lose, she decides- with encouragement from her three best friends – to follow the dubious advice from a magazine article, Closure in Seven Easy Steps. The Seven Steps to Closure follows Tara on her sometimes disastrous – always hilarious – path to achieve the seemingly impossible.

***** Review *****

I yearned for the day that I would wake up and know that deep inside me, the wounds had healed – but at the same time I still fantasized about a reunion with him. I had become an emotional schizophrenic. 

Tara Babcock has spent the last year leading up to her 30th birthday knowing her husband left her for her snooty, snobby cousin Tash. She is in this perpetual loop of heartbreak because she’d loved him. She still loves him. She doesn’t understand what went so wrong.

When I first started reading, all I could think from the descriptions of little incidents from her marriage was that Tara was a complete idiot. Obviously the man has some bipolar issue, but mostly he’s just a jackass who cheated on you with your cousin. And I was bugged that Tara had so many wonderful family members and friends in her life that just stood by through it all.

But then the focus shifted slightly to Tara’s friends and the elements of their lives, which I thoroughly enjoyed throughout the book. It became more and more clear that Tara is just a bit of a shell.

With time, it had become easier to pretend that I was fine, to function in a semi-normal manner. To smile; even though it didn’t reach my eyes. To laugh; even though it didn’t touch my heart. But I found myself continuously wondering. What could I have done differently? Why wasn’t I enough? And self-doubt had become a shadow, following my footsteps and shaping my decisions. 

The emotional baggage we, as women, carry with us through life is sometimes more detrimental to us than anything else in the world. And that’s exactly where Tara still is. Everything still seems fresh as the days it happened. So her friends rally around her and put Tara on The Seven Steps to Closure. It is time for her to move on. (Of course, it doesn’t help that Jake is running for Lord Mayor, so he and Tash are plastered across every paper, tabloid and TV.)

I LOVED the seven steps. At first I was very dubious about how any of that would ever even work, but the more and more I thought of it – as a woman who has been through Jake relationship (God, it’s like they’re the same person), and a jilted fiancé – I realized it’s not to look upon the seven steps as a one-size-fits-all cure. It’s about following the steps with fidelity and the journey they will bring. I wish I’d known about these seven steps when I was where Tara finds herself in life.

Step number seven – Obtain closure. 

“What?” I asked. “How?” 

“I’m not sure about that part,” admitted Elaine. “But I have faith that if you follow all the other steps, it will just happen naturally.” 

“You just want me to have sex.”

“Yes I do dear, and the sooner the better.”

Tara embarks on this journey, and it is the experience of a lifetime. She does the whole “new me, new look” thing, the one-night stand, and then comes time for an exotic trip. She picks no better time than that of Jake and Tash’s wedding, which turns out to be the wedding she had planned for her and Jake and all the ideas he nixed and blew off. (Asshat.)

She recognizes the man in the seat next to her, but she cannot for the longest place him. Needless to say, airfare is not the best mode of transportation for Tara. Even the wheels retracting into the undercarriage of the plane frighten her, but this very annoying stranger gets her through the trip.

Tara gets to see up close and personal some of the world, with it’s good and bad, and she falls in love along the way. Only, she’s trying hard not to. She doesn’t want to replace one for another or have a rebound relationship. It just sort of happens, in the most simple of ways. I loved Tara’s travels and all that happened. It brings her character to life and everything looks different through her eyes.

When Tara returns, a flurry of things happen. So much going on! And one conversation Tara has with her mother hits the nail on the head perfectly in terms of why no one was there to hep Tara out of her horrible marriage. It’s the reason I went down that horrible, bad relationship road myself, and why so many women do.

“I hadn’t realized how much of myself I had sacrificed to be with Jake. I gave up my identity.” 

“You were too lost to realize you were lost. It made me so sad watching you. You got smaller and smaller and then one day you stopped shining.” 

“Mother,” I said saddened, “why didn’t you say something?” 

“Some things you have to realize yourself, and until you do, you drive away anyone who tries to tell you away. I’d already lost so much of you I didn’t want to lose all of you.” 

For some reason those words are so powerful and resonated with me. Perhaps because I had been in Tara’s shoes (thankfully though, not married to the jerk). It is an intense and emotional roller coaster. And Tara seems to be back on another one, but this time she’s putting a stop to it no matter how much her heart breaks.

Only…things are not as they seem…and word from the grapevine is that Jake is in the same predicament that was the reason he left Tara for Tash. Oh, karma. You are such a wonderful and beautiful bitch. 🙂

***** About the Author *****

I started writing my first novel when I was seven. With no idea about plot or character development (I mean I was only seven) my storyline quickly disintegrated into a muddled jumble of boring dialogue between two horses. Disillusioned, I gave up writing stories for quite a while after that. Instead, I concentrated on my studies, eventually graduating as a dentist.

After many years of ‘drilling and filling’ I turned to writing in an effort to escape the seriousness of my day job. During that time I created my first book, The Seven Steps to Closure, and discovered that I love nothing more than making other people laugh. Well that, and my husband and two miniature schnauzers, Chloe and Xena.

I currently live near the beach on the beautiful New South Wales Central Coast. When I am not working or writing, I love to paddle board, walk on the beach and sip chai lattes at the local cafe.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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