Book Review: The Jewel Box

The Jewel Box by The Jewel Box by C. Michelle McCarty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Jewel Box is a novel based on the memories of main character, Cherie. It is largely composed of her fond recollections of her string of lovers and positive associations with a topless club called the Jewel Box where she was once a waitress in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It was at the Jewel Box that she met the love of her life, although their relationship was rather rocky with a lot of off again/on again drama.

Cherie is something of a tormented soul, always looking for the one silver bullet that will fix her life. The author’s talent lies in her character creation and ability to write complex characters. However, I will admit this gets a bit tedious at times, as she describes the string of dancers at the topless club in sort of mindless succession, and that translated to some of Cherie’s lovers as well. All of the characters she described were funny and quirky, but there were so many (both dancers and lovers) that the story moved along a little too slowly. Perhaps this was part of her painting the character of Cherie as someone you just wanted to shake into sobriety, as in many ways she was largely responsible for the predicament in which she found herself. She was a very real person, and as the novel spans the decades (yes decades from the late 60’s or so to the early 2000’s) you start to wonder when she will finally come to her senses. In this sense the author bit off a little more than she should have, because although she did a great job of fleshing out the character, the reality is life is boring sometimes, and it’s ok to skip to the good stuff. In addition, she sprinkles lots of Texas tidbits to the point where you start to think why yes, everything is bigger in Texas, including trivia and egos. At first it was charming, then it again got tedious, kind of the like the trivia about the various decades.

However, I was impressed when I found out that this was the first book for the Michelle McCarty, as the writing was good (with the exception of a view fragments scattered here and there) and as stated before, she really does a good job of character description. I could Cherie and supporting cast in my head as I read, which is possibly why I could also visualize myself slapping some sense into her at times. A good read, and hopefully the next one will be just as good, if slightly more condensed.

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