Review of Gretchen Johnson's SINGLE IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS in Sept. 2017 MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

From MBR:  BOOKWATCH:  MARI'S BOOKSHELF

Paige is a recently divorced English professor at Lamar University who hates sleeping alone. With chapters named after a series of guys she meets, the book is structured like a speed dating game, but with an ironic twist. Whimsical as summer chick-lit, this third novel by Minnesota native Gretchen Johnson also reaches beyond romance into transcendentalism. A highlight comes in the “Students” chapter in which she defends Thoreau to her class. A student discovers through their discussion “that maybe he’s saying a life can be a lot of things, that maybe success can be a lot of things, that what matters… what really matters is how you define success, that you should live your life the way you believe is right and not just assume other people have the right answers for you” (169). Although the book is about Paige’s attempts at love, it is also about how she listens to her life and learns its spontaneous lessons, however they present themselves. Paige’s beloved, the fruit of her exploratory labors, is the biggest and best surprise of all. Enjoy her humorous encounters with aliens of the male kind as well as gossipy girl-talk and Paige’s insights as she plums the depths - and there are depths - of her home, Beaumont, Texas.