September 30, 2012

SUGARFIEND by Caroline Burau

Sugarfiend by Caroline Burau
Paperback & Kindle, 286 pages
Published February 11, 2012 by DragonStone Creative Group
ISBN10: 0615595200                      
ISBN13: 978-0615595207
If her life is a box of chocolates, acid-tongued, sugar-obsessed Estelle Brown should learn how to pick them better.
Her boyfriend’s left her for a bulimic hand model, her roomate’s skipped town, and her boss is in love with her.
Fed up and in the middle of her latest of a lifetime of doomed diet attempts – cutting sugar cold turkey – Estelle decides to quit quitting for good, pack her bags, and lose herself on a 7-day Caribbean cruise.  But even on a floating monument to binge eating, the diet industry follows her.
Across from every buffet is a studio full of treadmills. Next to every plate of fried calamari is a large diet Coke. As a ship full of wary passengers ducks for cover, Hurricane Estelle wages her own personal war against moderation. But the consequences land her in the belly of the beast: broke, alone, and forced to take a job as –of all things-- a detox consultant for the ship.
Is Skinny the answer to Happy? Is Sweet n Low the new black? Is that Denise Austin chick … for real? No, no and yes, oddly. But for a Sugarfiend, it’s not the destination that matters, it’s all the cupcakes you get to eat along the way.
My Thoughts on Sugarfiend
Caroline Burau is a terrific storyteller.  And she has a wry and witty sense of humor to which I can adoringly relate.  Sugarfiend is a testament to this.  It's not often that your book's heroine is an addictive (sugar, alcohol, drugs, men, self-loathing, you name it) personality with serious self-esteem issues and a hardcore self-destruct button . . . and yet you still like her, relate to her and root for her.
In the hands of a less capable, and funny as hell, writer, Estelle Brown could be the iceberg that sinks the Titanic.  Let's face it.  Some people can't relate to an alcoholic or drug addict, nor do they want to.  Some readers want more to their heroine than a woman who is merely looking for the next tray of brownies or drunken stupor.  But even in Estelle's darkest moments - - and there are quite a few - - she is so vulnerable, raw and real that you can't help but take this journey with her and hope that she sees the light.  And you don't have to be an addict to get it.  If you're a Type A personality (as I can be about certain things at certain times), it will make perfect sense to you. 
Despite the somewhat heavy premise of addiction, I laughed throughout a large portion of this book.  Estelle's self-depreciation gave the story a much needed comic relief.  The time she spent on the cruise ship as an employee was the best part of the tale, in my opinion.  I loved it and was disappointed when it ended. 
Sugarfiend has a massive cast of supporting players, for the good and for the bad.  Some quickly moved in and then out of the story, not much more than cameo appearances.  Others had larger parts  but were rather underdeveloped.  The characters of Rhonda and Roxanne, in particular, left me a bit confused.  I guess I was looking for their motivations, since Estelle's were so clear to me. 
I also found Sugarfiend to be a bit overwhelming at times.  That's not to say it wasn't a good read but so much went on at certain times that I was left exhausted and likely feeling the way that friends and family of addicts do when dealing with someone like Estelle.   I also felt the pride and joy of Estelle seeing the light, as Ms. Burau excelled at giving Estelle redemption. 
I would recommend Sugarfiend to a reader looking for an honest book with a flawed yet witty central character and a moral that isn't the proverbial two by four.  There are sex scenes and there is adult language so if you prefer your books G or PG rated, this may not be the book for you.  If you don't mind, Sugarfiend is worth the high. 
Sugarfiend is available for purchase at major booksellers, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.

Review copy of this book provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of this book affect the outcome of my review.

Thank you to CLP Book Tours for including me on this tour!

To connect with Caroline Burau, please visit her website
Please visit CLP's tour page for Caroline Burau to follow this tour.


Samantha said...

Thanks for the review!

Caroline Burau said...

Sincere thanks for the kind words. It's so lovely to get a thoughtful review that also has some great critical feedback.