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It’s no secret that I am a book lover with aspirations to have my own novel in bookstores someday. Those dreams may seem far off for me, but for fellow teacher Jenny Middleton, they became a reality this January. Jenny, having survived teaching both science and English to middle school students for over twenty years, made good use of her retirement last year. She used her newfound free time to bring her dream to life and complete her first novel, The Red Bra.
“I have a world to explore and explore I will!”
It’s a windy New Year’s Eve when the eponymous Red Bra finds her freedom aloft a gusty breeze. Jenny Middleton‘s debut novel is both funny and sentimental. The story reflects on the shifting perspectives women have about their changing bodies through the years. And it’s all related to us from the perspective of a flashy red bra.
The Red Bra begins with the title character’s great escape. As she stretches her straps and explores, she becomes attached to several groups of female friends along the way. Beginning with a trio of pre-adolescents just coming to terms with their changing bodies and ending at a breast cancer support group, RB, as her reader’s affectionately know her, discovers many truths along the way.
Jenny Middleton tells a story that is both hilariously funny and at times heartbreaking. She examines the struggles that many women endure during their lives in a voice that is both witty and raw. The sassy, snarky commentary of RB as she drifts in and out of the story’s different tableaux is an amusing addition. The reader anxiously awaits hearing her reflections on the scenes as they unfold.
It is in the final chapters that both the reader and our friend RB discover that the characters are actually connected. Although they are separated by both location and time, Middleton beautifully ties all the ladies together. A final twist at the close of the novel gives the book a depth that is both beautiful and unexpected.
The Red Bra is a quick, easy read, but one that is well worth it. It will make you laugh, give you feelings of nostalgia, and pull at your heartstrings. I strongly recommend you support a former LCUSD 9 teacher and pick up a copy today!