4 out of 4 stars
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The Life and Times of Angie Bardot is Angela Bardot’s humorous account of a woman’s tumultuous life after divorce. Most probably autobiographical, the book is written in the first person and has a conversational tone that lures the readers and keeps them connected to Angie’s story. In a perfect combination of funny and lyrical moments, the protagonist tells the heart-warming tale of her journey of self-discovery.
Although Angie’s words give the impression of spontaneity, the book is very well-organized. An introduction and a postscript wrap up its two parts. They have 24 chapters each and are hilariously entitled “Hell No” and “Hell Yes.” There is nothing I disliked about any scene or chapter. On the contrary, I think that The Life and Times of Angie Bardot is a veritable tour de force of a gifted writer who has the power to trigger a kaleidoscope of emotions and feelings. After all, what I loved about it was the emotional carousel I was in from start to finish.
In a feminist fashion, Angie Bardot opens her story by discussing the absurdity of the “perfect wife” role she played all her life: “I easily became someone else without realizing that’s what I was doing.” (p. X) Part I uses the stream-of-consciousness technique to chronicle Angie’s story, from the moment she discovers her husband’s unfaithfulness to the day she lodges the divorce papers. Well past her prime, Angie is 59 when she leaves her husband after 36 years of marriage. Women with similar experiences will undoubtedly find themselves in Angie’s trial-and-error story. She does not shy away from recounting everything: the difficulty of finding a new house, the counseling sessions, her first date, the new haircut, the failed plastic surgery, the gym vs. Netflix, and the trip to Italy.
Part II follows another 24 months of Angie’s life after divorce. It mainly focuses on her love affair with a man she calls her Dreamboat. The reawakening of her sexuality is the hidden drive behind her obsession with somebody incapable of commitment. In the end, she realizes that going back in time is impossible: “You know when you want to drift back to what you knew, to the safe haven within yourself? As you were… before. There are no buts about it. You would be happy going back. There could be a hundred “before” and yet we never go back.” (p. 220) Her final epiphany is something we should all learn: we need to feel powerful to make our own decisions and be happy with ourselves.
Taking everything into account, I am rating this book 4 out of 4 stars. Angie’s story will pull at your heartstrings and leave you wondering about what you want in life. I am primarily recommending it to all women out there who were desperate to find answers after a separation or divorce. You will find a lot of comfort in Angie’s sense of humor and raw account of her adventures. Those interested in soul-searching and introspection will also find the book delightful. I only noticed two minor errors, so I can say the editing is almost perfect. The occasional profane words are in tune with Angie’s moods. If I were you, I wouldn’t hesitate to grab a copy of the book and start reading.
The LIfe and Times of Angie Bardot
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