Book Review: Paging Aphrodite by Kim Green

30 06 2009

Kara Bertrand
Humber College Student
Written: April 2008

This article was written for an opinion writing class at Humber College.

Paging Aphrodite BookPAGING APHRODITE by Kim Green (Bantam Dell), 419 pages, $9.99 paper.

White washed buildings, blue doors, ouzo, and beach blankets: all characteristics of Greece, and Kim Green’s sophomore novel, Paging Aphrodite.

The novel takes place on the Greek island of Corfu, home of the Pink Palace backpackers’ paradise. Green’s main characters are all women, ranging ages 28 to 46 from all across the globe. Parker Glass, from San Francisco, is an interior designer who was dumped by her husband after only eleven days of marriage. London-based Kelah Morris is an aspiring novelist, and to escape writer’s block, she packs up and goes to Corfu for a much needed vacation. Anya Soberanes, a shy girl from San Francisco decides to face her fears and runs off to Greece. Finally, Claire Dillon is a middle-aged mom who travels to Corfu after her husband cheats on her.

The commonality between these women is that all four of them are running away from something – be it career or family. All of them end up finding their peace in the island paradise and solve their problems with the help of some lucky suitors. The lives of the women are intertwined on the small island, and Green’s supplementary characters gather as aides to give each woman exactly what they need.

Green was born in Hollywood, and in her own words, “sounds fancy, but all that really means is I shared public parks with more tranny hookers than you did.” This wit is present in her writing and it is clear that the characters are all part of her own personality. Bored with a dotcom job, Green decided to write her first novel, Is That a Moose in Your Pocket? This novel is also a story of the fall and rise of a woman in her thirties.

Green sets her novel up with each character talking in first person every chapter. While this is a bit deceiving at the beginning of the novel, as the story continues, the changing of main characters gives the reader a stronger attachment to them by getting inside their brains.

The novel contains a small tinge of feminism, as these women are taking it upon themselves to rid themselves of the men in their lives, run off on their own and meet together every day to discuss their lives. The interesting thing is that each woman ends up with a man or intertwined emotionally with a man. The dependence on men is what keeps the novel from officially being feminist in theory.

The novel is witty and funny, as characters create lists, dialogues and dreams to imitate their thoughts. For example, after sleeping with a younger man at a lounge, Claire creates a list entitled, “The Ten Commandments of the Adulterous Married Women Who Has Sought Payback in the Greek Islands with Her Swarthy Underage Lover.”

She also has a list about married women in her life who put pressure on her to return to her husband, called, “The Ten Commandments of Women Who Wish to Never Have Sex Again, Especially with a Swarthy Underage Lover, Even Though Their Husbands Are Experiencing the True Meaning of Deep Tissue with Massage Therapists on a Weekly Basis.” Examples like these show how the characters are brought alive by their witty repertoire.

The setting of Greece is incredibly exotic and romantic, filling the reader’s mind with thoughts of sandy beaches, olives and rolling hills. For anyone who has been to the Greek islands, the imagery of these scenes brings about a comforting feeling of nostalgia.

In the world of Chick Lit, there are losers and there are winners. Kim Green’s second novel, Paging Aphrodite, is a winner. With witty chatter and vibrant characters, Green serves up an entertaining and exciting story.