BOOK TITLE: Hot Toddy
AUTHOR: T. C. Collins
PUBLICATION DATE: 21 June 2016
FORMAT: Paperback (also available in e-book)
TOTAL NUMBER OF PAGES: 334
GENRE: Fiction/ Contemporary Fiction/ Bildungsroman
Everyone is talking about Hot Toddy. Who is LJ? Does she even know? Growing up in the heartland of America, LJ didn’t learn what the world was really like outside the boundaries of her family farm until she left for college in southern California. She immediately falls head over heels in love with a hot surfer and his sun-and-surf laid-back lifestyle. She picks up modeling and acting gigs to pay down her student loans. After a few unbearable twists of fate, LJ abandons her Midwestern values for the temptations of Hollywood-and that’s only the beginning. Caught in the pressure of balancing a lie and reality, and with her seemingly new best friend, Sidney, becoming more viperous at every turn, LJ can no longer escape the fall down the rabbit hole into a dark world of money and power, where sex sells and everything is for sale. Hot Toddy is for every young woman who’s ever let her foolishness consume her. Part naughty thrill ride, and part serious take on coming of age in a time when wealth and celebrity seem to be the only things that matter, Hot Toddy promises to be this year’s best read, with big belly laughs, engaging women characters, and an unexpected finale that will leave you wanting more.
Having dealt with my “life problems” (an understatement), I finally managed to inveigle myself to make time for ‘Hot Toddy’. I know it’s been a long time since I last posted but in my defense, I can say that I needed some time off the internet to rejuvenate and even now I make no promises to post regularly as I did before. Life really did happen! I appreciate and value each and every one of you who endured my long absence but still decided to remain a constant part of my blogging journey. 💜🙏
Now coming to Hot Toddy, the novel; let me be honest here, the title is a good enough reason to attract my attention towards the book. As an additive, we have the cover. All that jazz about aesthetics, you know. It worked on me 😉
Now for someone who is acclimatized to witnessing veritable plotlines being upfront with me, I had difficulty in accepting that the actual plot can only be accounted for after a few pages deep within the novel. Not exactly a “what a shame” moment, but, it could have been worse. Speaking of the plot, let me mention that our heroine, Lillian James Volpicelli (now, that’s a mouthful for me), or in short LJ, as Collins likes to call her, is unfortunately unable to relinquish her verifiable claims of bearing Midwestern values. Underneath her desire to be lured into the enchanting and appealing world of Hollywood, Lillian is impotent against her upbringing which has transformed her into an impressionable, unguarded and innocent young woman. This twenty-one-year-old cannot help herself from exposing her vulnerability. Her naivety keeks in unnoticed; ‘LJ’ always fetches Lillian in herself.
When LJ meets her antithesis Sidney Steele, her “friend”, she is predisposed to impulsive decisions which only brings her sorrow and pain in the end. Impelled by the extravagant conduct of her friends, this gullible person yearns to become one of them and live by their set of rules. When the opportunity arises, LJ allows herself to be bludgeoned into their world, oblivious of the toxicity she surrounds herself with and appearing to be incognizant of the precipitous slide she is about to engage herself with, for the worse. The glitz and glamour of Hollywood provoke LJ to step into its incendiary territory and the rest is history (which I am not supposed to disclose).
The plotline of ‘Hot Toddy’ comes close to, what Peter Brooks calls the “progressive educative plot”. Lillian who first began her journey as a naïve woman, after the catch-22 situation, metamorphoses into a strong, unassailable, and inviolable woman. In simple words, the story encircles a self-improvement plot. While the successive phases in Lillian’s life lead to the projection of “improvement” in her outer life, it is only when she learns from her past mistakes that she can experience self-integration—a fully rounded and “balanced” consciousness.
The first-person account of LJ makes her a reliable narrator, assuming that she is being true to herself. Her preconceptions and prejudices are of course entrenched in her which may force her to display unreliableness. For a self-improvement novel, the story is extremely fast-paced, oftentimes neglecting the concept and inclining towards dramatic effect which proves to be of a serious impediment if one is to consider the thematic emphasis in the text. What impressed me in the novel is the transition of Lillian to LJ and then again to Lillian, if that makes any sense. The diction and articulation of sentences though shall probably dazzle the youths, it, unfortunately, failed to leave a long-lasting impression on me even though I am still in my early twenties. Perhaps, it is the truth they speak when they say that I was born in the wrong century. When it comes to literature, I am indeed square-toed.
I am surely fixated upon contemporary literature from time to time and ‘Hot Toddy’ was a quick, fun read to entertain myself. A light book to read to push you out of your gloomy state which helps to foster a feeling of frivolity and light-heartedness.
Hot Toddy can be coupled with Hot Toddy! It’s the winters, after all, the time for hot drinks and spicy reads, no? 😉
NOTE: THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN IN THE MONTH OF JANUARY WHICH WAS DEFINITELY THE TIME FOR HOT TODDY.
BOOK COVER: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Minimalistic cover; befitting the context of the novel)
BOOK TITLE: ⭐⭐⭐.5 (creative but does not suit the theme of the novel well; too quirky for the content which the author was dealing with)
NARRATIVE TECHNIQUE: ⭐⭐⭐. 5
STYLE & CONTENT: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
GRAMMAR & PUNCTUATION: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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