Janey Fabre knows she isn't the average thirty-something. After all, she has found herself stalking her ex-boyfriend on more than one occasion. But when she joins group therapy, she is convinced that the other women she meets are ten times loopier than she is. Suzanna prefers the company of her dog to human beings. Laura is a record-breaking gold medalist in the one-night-stand Olympics. And Bethany, a forty-year-old divorcÉe, still lives with her mother. Not to mention Valentine, a painfully shy beauty who binges on DoveBars; Ivy, a sweet-talking southern belle who binges on Botox; and Natasha, who wears a face mask to protect herself against unseen airborne pathogens. Over time, Janey and the girls concoct an outrageous scheme for asserting themselves, and suddenly they're embroiled in a reckless and exhilarating misadventure that wreaks havoc on their lives but ultimately illuminates the power of loyalty and the true meaning of friendship.
Medoff's debut novel, the well-received Hunger Point, leavened the serious topic of eating disorders with a healthy dose of wry humor. In her sophomore effort Medoff takes aim at therapy, female bonding, low self-esteem and revenge with mixed results. Janey Fabre joins group therapy when she admits to herself that obsessing about (and semi-stalking) a man who dated and dumped her might not be entirely healthy. An actuary, the 30-something Janey also spends her time composing highly methodical lists of ways to commit suicide, and despairs of ever being married or having children. The six other women in the group represent a grab-bag of recognizable psychological profiles: bossy Laura sleeps around, overweight Valentine can't stop eating, nervous Natasha fears germs, Ivy is a plastic surgery junkie, Bethany still lives with her mother, and Suzanna is more connected to her dog than to other people. What they all have in common is low self-esteem as well as a seemingly pathological distrust of men, even though they complain incessantly about not meeting Mr. Right. Rather formulaically, Medoff tracks the members of the "pussy posse" as they learn to stand up for themselves. The plot takes an unexpected twist, however, when a plan to get revenge on Janey's ex turns violent, but all is cozily resolved in the end. The metaphorical use of actuarial probability ( la John Lanchester's Mr. Phillips) is clever, but the psychological insights, such as they are ("maybe it's never been them... maybe it's us") are less than revelatory. Still, readers in thrall to the current crop of light gal-power lit may find some kick to the antics on display here.