Monday, April 12, 2010

Blog Tour and Book Review #46: SMALL CHANGE by Sheila Roberts

Pub. Date: March 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Paperback, 352pp
Sales Rank: 26,607
ISBN-13: 9780312594473
ISBN: 031259447X

Description (from the publisher):
Take a trip to the charming little town of Heart Lake, and meet three best friends who you’ll never forget…

Rachel, Jessica and Tiffany have money problems—major money problems. Tiffany’s whipped out the plastic one too many times, and now a mountain of debt is about to come crashing down on her. Jessica’s husband lost his job—thrusting this longtime stay-at-home mom out into the cold, cruel workforce. And Rachel’s divorce has transformed her from an upper-middle-class mom to a strapped-for-cash divorcee. What are three best friends to do?

Get financially fit, that’s what! Together, Rachel, Jessica and Tiffany start a financial support group called The Small Change Club—challenging each other to bring balance back to their checkbooks, and their lives. Even though frugality is a lot harder than they ever imagined, these women are about to learn some very important lessons: that small changes can make a big difference…and that some things in life, like good friends, are truly priceless.

Click here to view the Reading Group Guide online.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars - An optimistic and happy read.

My Thoughts:
First, let me say how much I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Life's waters have been a little rough for me lately, and there's nothing quite like the support of family and friends to help keep you bobbing and afloat until you reach a nice tranquil bay. In SMALL CHANGE, Sheila Roberts writes about just that - the strength and encouragement that three women friends provide to each other during difficult times, and how that friendship also helps to strengthen and renew the women's individual family relationships as well.

Our heroines, Rachel, Jessica, and Tiffany, are each experiencing financial problems in a realistic reflection of what has been happening across the U.S. in the last couple of years. It's not hard to relate to any of these women or the tough times they experience and the choices they have to make. Rachel is a single mom struggling to land a permanent job, Jessica is a not-so-empty nester who is forced back into the workplace after years of being a stay-at-home mom, and (the saucily named) Tiffany is a shopaholic whose retail therapy just perpetuates her problems.

Though their problems are serious, Roberts writes with a light touch and plenty of wit. I think I found Jessica to be the most fun character. She has to resort to some clever scheming to get her grown son up on his feet and out of the house. And her decision to audition as a lead singer for an all-girl oldies band is spunky and bold and just made me smile.

At the other end of the spectrum, Tiffany's inability to control her spending and the potential threat to her marriage is a cautionary tale. The term "shopoholic" really rather trivializes Tiffany's affliction. But this is not a heavy book, and I like the way Roberts handled Tiffany's problem. She made it serious enough that it could not be ignored, but not so devastating that recovery wasn't possible. 

There's also room in this story for romance, which provides tension of another sort: how will the long-suffering Rachel react when her Prince Charming presents her with an engagement ring AND a pre-nup? I'm not giving anything away, but I loved the way Roberts resolved that issue.

Additionally, Roberts found a terrific way to weave in some basic financial tips and advice -- Rachel creates a blog! Now raise your hands if you can relate to that!

This was the first book by Sheila Roberts that I've read, but it won't be the last. It's an enjoyable and "light" read that also provides plenty of provocative material to mull over and/or discuss. I like the way Roberts focused in on real issues and created believable and empathetic characters. I don't think reading SMALL CHANGE will change your life, but its story and characters will provide a triple threat of humor, hope, and happiness against whatever hard times might be clouding your days.

About the author (from the publisher):
Sheila Roberts lives in Bremerton, Washington. When she’s not speaking to women’s groups or at conferences, she can be found writing about family, friendship and other things near and dear to women’s hearts.

Click here to visit the author's website.

Click here to read an interview with the author.

Thank you to Dorothy at
for organizing this tour and supplying my review copy.


bermudaonion said...

I hope life's water's have calmed down for you. The book sounds great - something to take to the beach and discuss with friends.

Zibilee said...

I hope things work out for you as well. I am glad that you loved the book and that it was such a gentle read for you during a hard time. I am going to have to look closer at this book!

librarypat said...

Sounds like a good book for a discussion group. With the situation so many find themselves in lately, a little financial advice certainly won't hurt. Wrapping it into a good story is even better.