BBC journalist Lizzie has never cared about looks, at least until both her husband and her job are taken by younger women shortly after her 39th birthday. Prodded along by an image-obsessed half-sister, Lizzie finally decides to go under the knife to get her life back. Raw but surprisingly funny, this is a likable take on dealing with the anxieties of aging and the pressures women face. Many of the jokes are memorable ("I like my bikini line, it's like having a pet in my pants") and frequently laugh-out-loud funny. Author Kathy Lette's introduction makes her sound like the sister every woman wishes she had, while performer Shirley Barthelmie narrates the rest of the title with an appealing mix of warmth and pathos.
The characters are to a person, unrealistic, and in most cases, unlikeable. I found myself hoping that the heroine would display some traces of depth, something with which the average woman could identify, and at the end of the reading, was actually glad to finish. As a rule, I love British humor, with it's quirks and bawdy delivery, but in this case, it came across as just mean. I just didn't like any of the characters enough to see them as human, funny or not. In several cases I actually felt sorry for them, much the way one does when poorly directed actors fumble around a stage. What a shame, this author is talented, and I suspect could write with much more realism, while still keeping the bawdy humor factor intact.