Book Review: The Changing Room by Jane Turley

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The Changing Room: A British Comedy of Love, Loss and Laughter

The Changing Room by Jane Turley
Release Date: 30th September 2015
Publisher: Sweet and Salty Books
Buy: PaperbackKindle
Rating:
412

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“Today, I am in the changing room of my life and tomorrow, win or lose, I’ll move forward a stronger and wiser woman.”

Sandy Lovett’s confused mother and chaotic life are having an effect on her waistline. She knows she needs to change her life but doesn’t know how until she buys a risqué dress which sets in motion a sequence of life-changing events.

After years as a mother, carer and full-time employee, Sandy quits her job and places her mother in a care home, and life seems on the up. But disaster is never far away for the hapless Sandy as her mother’s obsessions continue to wreak havoc and her husband’s business begins to fail. Short of cash and needing a flexible job, Sandy joins a sex-chat service. At The Beaver Club Sandy discovers a talent for selling telephone sex – a skill she later regrets when she meets unscrupulous local politician and prospective MP, Trewin Thackeray. The Changing Room is a comedy-drama for all those whose glass is half-full. Preferably with gin and a big fat cherry!

 

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Sandy Lovett has got a lot on her plate at the moment. As well as taking care of her elderly mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, Sandy has three children and a husband with a struggling business to take care of, the botoxed mothers of the PTA to contend with, a windy dog and a job selling furniture with regular visits from a pervy line manager. It’s no wonder Sandy has a fondness for cream cakes to help her get through the daily battle that is her life.

When Sandy is out shopping with her mother for a new work suit, she’s harassed and quite frankly peed off, when she tries on a dress which actually looks rather good (even if she says so herself). Throwing caution to the wind, Sandy buys the dress despite it being a million miles away from her usual attire and before she knows it the dress brings about changes to her life that she could never have imagined.

Over the course of the next few months Sandy experiences the highs and lows of being a daughter/wife/mother/employee/sex-chat worker/friend/person who does exercise.

Action-packed and full of laughs, The Changing Room is proof that a nice dress really CAN change your life…

I had been looking forward to reading The Changing Room for ages. I love novels with strong lead characters who take you on a journey and keep you fully entertained along the way and this novel did that in abundance.
Whilst Sandy is not the usual twenty-something-disaster-prone-lead-heroine who tends to frequent a lot of the books I read it didn’t mean that I loved her any less. In fact it made a refreshing change to read about a character who was older, had more life experience and yet was still struggling.
A lot of readers will be able to identify with Sandy and the position that she is in with her mother, whether you’ve experienced it for yourself or know of someone who has. The fact that mother and daughter have taken on a role-reversal as Sandy cares for her own mother is an increasingly common situation amongst so many of us and it’s an extremely sobering thought. If you are in a similar situation to Sandy then I urge you to read this book as I have no doubt that you’ll be able to fully identify with the set-up and whilst it’s guaranteed to break you heart, it will also put a smile on your face at the same time.
The thing that I loved most about Sandy was her resilience. She is a strong and incredibly brave person who always, ALWAYS looks on the brighter side of life and I really found her to be an inspiration. The way she just accepted the things she couldn’t change yet was willing to fight to the death for the things that she could was really admirable. Oh, and she was blooming hilarious, too.

The way that Jane Turley wrote about Alzheimer’s and the effect that it had on the whole family should really be applauded. She tackles the issue sensitively and realistically, but manages to help the reader to see the lighter side of the situation, too.
Jane seems to have a talent for writing about realistic characters in real life situations which might cause you to start blubbing BUT before you get the tissues out she’ll have you chuckling to yourself again. I absolutely love it when an author can achieve this and the thing with The Changing Room is that it is genuinely very, VERY funny. Actually laugh-out-loud chortle-inducing, funny. Jane’s writing lends itself to a certain style of humour which compliments this novel so well. She has such a naturally witty way of writing and along with the razor-sharp dialogue this book is probably best not read on public transport… (Some of my favourite moments were when Sandy takes up running and later when she first joins ‘The Beaver Club’. Both are classic scenes!) Whilst my first assumptions were that this novel would be one filled with humour, I perhaps wasn’t expecting that it would touch me in quite the way it did, either.

I really, really, really, REALLY hope that we get a sequel to this novel as these are a set of characters that I would love to revisit. (Mutley! Frosty! Deidre! I’d love to see more from Mr & Mrs Jaggi too if I’m honest…)

If you are a fan of Sue Townsend or Jenny Eclair then you need to add The Changing Room onto your reading-wishlist immediately. Turning real-life on its head and always trying to see the funny side, The Changing Room is a enjoyable page-turner with a heroine we can all relate to.

I highly recommend joining Sandy as we experience the heartbreak, love, friendship, joys and chaos that every day life brings.

A huge thank you to Becke from pr collective for sending me a review copy of The Changing Room. 

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Jane TurleyJane was born in a remote village in the Malvern Hills in England a long, long time ago. So long ago, that Jane sometimes now forgets where she lives and where she has parked her car. She is, however, very friendly with her local police officer.

Whilst still a baby, Jane moved to the seaside resort of Weston super Mare, on the borders of Somerset, where she spent years gazing forlornly out of her Silver Cross Pram. Her excessive exposure to salty air and seagull poop left her deeply traumatized and possessing a bizarre sense of humour. She now inflicts her dubious wit on everyone, including passing strangers, scarecrows and stray dogs. She hasn’t been invited to dinner since 1982.

When Jane was young and ambitious she aspired to be an actress but, one day, her life changed forever when she met a tall handsome stranger. Unfortunately, the stranger walked off and Jane married someone else in a fit of pique. Luckily, he turned out to fairly normal and Jane did the family thing and gave birth to three annoying sons. Since then Jane has been scrubbing saucepans and toilet bowls and gazing out her kitchen window fantasying about writing novels.

After many years and even more chocolate-chip cookies, Jane finally completed her first book, A Modern Life. Jane’s husband was delighted he would no longer have to hear her waffling on about it and threw his hands up with relief. Jane cried with happiness. After they’d celebrated, Jane told her husband even better news; she didn’t have writer’s block and had an idea for a full-length novel. At which point, Jane threw up her hands with relief and he cried. Somehow they are still married.

There is a lot more to tell about Jane. You can find her at The Witty Ways of a Wayward Wife. A place where she talks. A lot.

Jane TurleyWebsite | TwitterFacebookGoodreads |

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