“You’ve got to make your own dreams happen, Lucy,” Ty says. “Sounds a lot like you’re helping to make someone else’s dreams happen.”
The Balance Project is such a fun read! Very reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada and The Nanny Diaries, The Balance Project is about the life of a working woman who earnestly and whole-heartedly believes that women can have the perfect life, everything they’ve ever wanted. If only they balance everything just right.
That woman is Lucy Cooper’s boss, Katherine Whitney, COO of a juice empire. Her new book, The Balance Project, has launched her into a new level of success with millions of women dying to know how they too can successfully have it all.
Lucy on the other hand, does not have it all. She doesn’t want to be an assistant forever, so her career isn’t exactly moving on the right track. And she doesn’t want to get married, which her boyfriend Nick is adamant about, so relationship may also be slightly unbalanced. When Katherine begins to fall apart at the seams, it falls even more on Lucy to hold it all together for her. Which is fine, until Katherine betrays Lucy unexpectedly. Not Lucy has to make a choice, and that choice will impact the course of her life. And Katherine’s.
“It sure doesn’t seem like your life is all that balanced, and you’re at ground zero of this balance operation.”
This book is a very fun read! And very funny! Lucy has an internal dialogue that is sarcastic and witty, which made her very enjoyable to read. Even when she makes the wrong choices, or doesn’t stand up for herself, she’s written in such a way, that it doesn’t feel cliche. She feels very real to me.
I think we’ve all had moments in our lives when we actively justify things that are happening, or make decisions we instantly regret, or even decisions we later regret. The thing I enjoyed about Lucy was it didn’t matter if you didn’t agree with how she processed things, or her decisions. The point was you understood. And were usually entertained along the way.
“It feels like there are crack-addicted trapeze artists in my stomach, and they are just beginning their routine.”
I really liked how we are introduced to the situation and characters without a giant info dump at the beginning. The flashbacks and narration is well paced and done so that it feels very natural to the progression of the plot. We learn a lot about Lucy and Katherine in the first chapter through a clever use of an interview. We also get a very real sense of the pressure Lucy feels as Katherine’s assistant in that first chapter. I loved that the tone and pace were introduced and maintained very consistently throughout the entire book.
Ava, her best friend is probably my favorite character. She’s the only one who I liked the entire time. It would be easy to hate the best friend who loved her job and made everything look easy while also posting an inspirational quote daily, but Ava is so kind and awesome you just want to be friends with her. I really loved that, because it’s so easy to go Mean Girls these days. It was nice to not have that cliche love/hate your best friend trope, and to also have a character that I genuinely adored throughout the entire book.
“Ava works at Cosmo – she is a fun, fearless female – as an associate features editor. She loves her job, and by love I mean she would make out with her job if she could.”
Nick, I wasn’t a fan of. And this part may get a touch spoiler-y so BEWARE! I didn’t like how the author managed to hold every other character accountable to their shitty behavior EXCEPT FOR NICK! Somehow he gets to act like a complete jerk to Lucy, give her a really intense ultimatum and in the end, he gets off the hook. Something about his list and how he handled her rejection just really didn’t sit well with me. It reeked of control issues and a refusal to compromise that didn’t fit with the rest of the books message.
Lucy is a complex character for me as well. She is willing to admit her fears and her weaknesses, but is also willing to allow people to treat her pretty poorly at times. Namely her boyfriend and her boss. And while their behaviors can be rationalized, Lucy doesn’t seem to be able to stand up for herself in healthy ways until extreme situations hit. The interesting part is I actually really liked Lucy, so maybe I just wanted her to be a bit more of her own advocate. I wanted her to see her worth more than if felt she did.
I realize that we all have to go through bad jobs, and bad relationships, and bad friendships to learn where our boundaries are. This book is a good exploration of that process. I think Lucy did forgive Nick way easier than Katherine, and wish that Nick would have offered a little more reflection on his bad behavior like other characters.
Overall though, I really enjoyed this book. It was a very fast read, I finished in an evening, and there were multiple laugh out loud lines. Even though that part with Nick really bothered me (obviously because I can’t seem to let it go), the book was a good presentation on how important it is to balance your life when you’re young.
Lucy explores some very relevant issues facing most women at all ages. How do we balance work and personal lives? When is too much too much? Is marriage and being a mother right for you? These are all very real things that most women struggle with. I was really happy to have a book that is enjoyable to read without seeming preachy, but still gives a thoughtful examination of some of these struggles. I think that most women will find a lot of it relevant and relatable, not to mention sassy and thoroughly entertaining!
Thank you BookSparks and She Writes Press for sending a copy to read and review!