Book Review: Sugar vs. Spice

Cover of "Sugar VS. Spice"
Cover of Sugar VS. Spice

As I prowled the aisles for something to read, I decided on something a little different from my usual fare of romance novels.

Thus, I picked up the book Sugar vs. Spice by Joanne Skerret.

What intrigued me about the book was the dynamics of sisterhood portrayed on the back cover.

By day, thirty-year-old Tari Shields is an up-and-coming journalist for a major Boston newspaper. By night, she’s a jazz singer, working the local club scene, seducing audiences with her silky voice and sulty style. In between, she’s a feisty, kick-boxing, aerobicizing, work-out devotee.

And, it would appear that she is the total opposite of her older sister, who has always shouldered life’s burdens so stoicly.

Melinda isn’t just her sister, she’s a supersista –  a wife, mother, active church member, and career woman.

Ah, but underneath all of Melinda’s perfect life is the desperate desire of a woman wanting to run away from all – with the perfect outfit already picked out, of course. Her children are wonderful. Her career is going great. She effortlessly balances in her obligations at church. So what’s wrong?

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The man, of course.

As all men are wont to do, he started out with success promise and drive for the future. But, when his company laid him off and her career began to take off, he pretty much gave up his man card and started spending all of his time playing golf – on her dime – instead of following the unspoken agreement of being a stay-at-home dad until the youngest child started elementary school.  What is really interesting is the fact that Melinda is a marriage counselor with marriage problems.

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However, the problem that draws the family together happens to be Tari’s. Her life is going equally as well, if in a different direction, than her sister. A major promoter drops in to hear her sing. After a few years of being single, she finally spies a man that gives her that special tingle just by looking at her. She even manages to break (and keep) a major financial news story that gets her the front page for weeks.  So what goes wrong in her life?

Cancer.

The diagnosis sends her world into a uncontrollable spiral that tests her faith in life, men, and God. She tries denying the problem. She tries ignoring the problem. But those strategies have never made a problem go bye-bye.

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Personally, I think both sisters have two sides of the same problem: Pride. Tari spends her time fighting against imaginary demons because she is proud. And Melinda backs away from speaking up to her husband because she is to proud to tell him how, exactly, she feels about the state of her marriage and to be willing to admit defeat and walk away, even if only temporarily, to prove her point.

It was a nice light read and would be especially interesting to those curious about faith and religion, the process of battling cancer, or family dynamics vs. tragedy.

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