“Go forth and masturbate”.
Whether that’s just sound life advice or a way to blow off (Ha) steam before a huge restaurant opening, I fell in love with the nature of Hot Mess by Emily Belden. From the first page, the book is raw and real. It’s a love story with the expected twist. The addict will relapse. It’s also a love story between three women who find each other as they try to salvage the mess left behind by Benji Zane.
From Allie’s point of view, it’s easy to understand how she is swept up in all that is Benji. He’s gorgeous, he’s sweet, he’s great in the sack AND he needs her. To stay sober. To finance his restaurant opening. To save his life.
Allie wants to save his life. She wants to be his lighthouse in the storm. As the story progresses and you journey with Allie through her thought process, you want to shake her! SHE KNOWS. She even knows better! As a reader, your stomach turns, your heart drops and you know what’s coming. You know she’s going to be crushed. However, I still needed to read. I wanted, nay, needed to know how Allie was going to deal. She’s young, emotional and insanely tied to Benji. I’m addicted to Hot Mess at this point.
Enter Ang. No bullsh*t with this woman. None of this “Oh, he took advantage of me”. Ang forces Allie to own her decisions and is there alongside her as she comes to terms with reality. Allie is a restaurant owner. Holy efffff. “What’s next” becomes their life mantra. What’s next is they hire Tabitha, a fantastic cook, and a staff to provide their guests with an experience. What’s next is figuring out how to build a relationship with vendors and get through Ang’s binder (all.the.rules). That is until the day he comes back. Has the balls to confront Allie with life-changing information. The reality of the addict returning, begging for another chance, is a great scene from Belden.
Actually, it’s all great. Hot Mess is fantastic to ride through Allie’s life, growing into her own talents and skills. Recognizing her strength and capability without him. It reminded me of Sandra Bullock in 28 Days. Allie’s transformation throughout this book is incredible and enjoyable to read. A solid four stars.