(This one’s gonna be quick people, because all reviews written on your birthday should be short and sweet. More time left for cake and laziness…)
Laura Bowers’s Beauty Shop for Rent… fully equipped, inquire within, is a down-home, easy-to-please kind of story. Abbey Garner was more or less raised by her great-grandmother, Granny Po, and all of Granny Po’s kooky, grey-haired girlfriends. Most of her young life outside of school has been spent in her Granny’s beauty parlor, listening to gossip, eating homemade treats, and earning some money doing odd jobs. When Granny Po decides to put the place up for rent, and a trendy young woman walks in ready to makeover the parlor and the small town clientele, Abbey braces for change. What comes next is part coming-of-age story, part Steel Magnolias and 100% heart-warming.
Abbey is an interesting character. She plans to be a millionaire by 35, and is well on the way to reaching that goal. She likes control, which is probably why she feels a lot happier figuring out money issues than people problems. She has a good heart, and real vulnerability, since her relationship with both of her absent parents is a source of strain and worry. I thought this kid was well-realized and sympathetic. The Grannies were fiery, and a bit dirty-talking (who doesn’t go for a novel with potty-mouthed grannies, I ask you), and entirely endearing. You’re rooting for this wacky family, from page one right to the end. There may have been too many story lines competing for attention. I found some aspects of the plot a bit thinly developed (Abbey’s relationship with her father, her job at the horse farm). But I like a good gossipy, girl-power read every so often, and Bowers’s book fits that bill perfectly.
Best consumed while:
a) getting a pedicure
b) drinking black coffee and eating pie or
c) on a weekend retreat with the girls