Jenny James Is Not a Disaster

Harper Muse. Jul. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9781400247868. pap. $17.99. F
Johnson’s English protagonist Jenny James is having the bad day to end all bad days: it’s been pouring rain for days, she might lose her job in a week due to budget cuts, she and her teenage son Charlie are fighting, and then her car breaks down, which forces her to take a bus home. All she wants is to snuggle up for a night in, but when she gets off the bus she sees her house sliding into the sea, its foundation eroded by the rain. What does a person do when life suddenly forces a detour? In Jenny and Charlie’s case, they decide to take a two-week trip in an RV with a neighbor, Luke, seeing the sights of England. It gives Jenny time to reflect on what she wants out of life, decide to mend broken relationships with her family, and start a tentative new relationship with Luke.
VERDICT This sweet novel serves as a good reminder that sometimes the worst days can kick-start positive changes. Johnson’s Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater was turned into a Hallmark movie, and her latest has a similar tone.
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