Clutch: A Novel is the laugh-out-loud chick lit romance chronicling the dating misadventures of Caroline Johnson, a single purse designer who compares her unsuccessful romantic relationships to styles of handbags – the “Hobo” starving artist, the “Diaper Bag” single dad, the “Briefcase” intense businessman, etc.
With her best friend, bar owner Mike, by her side, the overly-accommodating Caroline drinks a lot of chardonnay, puts her heart on the line, endures her share of unworthy suitors, and finds the courage to discover someone onto whom she wants to hold: the “Clutch”.
This was a hard one for me to rate. I read Starfish recently and really enjoyed it, so I was excited to read more of Ms. Becker’s work. While this was well written, I had a lot of trouble connecting with Caroline. While some of her dating failures were interesting, I felt like she kept repeating the same mistake and blaming others which left me a bit frustrated with her.
However, it wasn’t all bad. There were actually several things I liked about it. I liked the idea behind it. I liked all the purse references and how that carried through the story. I also really liked Mike. He was a fun character, and I really wanted him to find his happy ending. I liked that he was a good friend, and he had Caroline’s back. I liked that he went after what he wanted in life and built a life he could enjoy and be proud of despite the pressure to go a different way. I also really liked the way the story ended. I liked that Caroline was able to see what was worth holding on to.
What I really wish I had was more. I would love to see more of their relationship together. I felt like we spent so much time on the relationships that didn’t work, but barely any on the happy ending.
The narration for this book was well done. Suzanne Barbetta is a new narrator for me, but I would be interested in listening to another book narrated by her in the future.