Editorial note: I received a copy of Where the Grass is Green and the Girls Are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
Where the Grass is Green and the Girls Are Pretty by Lauren Weisberger features a cringe title (sorry, it’s true) with a solid beach read story.
I’m sure as soon as you read the title, the song is now officially in your head! Maybe I’m missing something but I have no idea why they named the book after that song. I guess because there’s a town called Paradise in the novel? Titles aren’t everything, or really that important in the grand scheme of things, but I think they could have done better than that. You have no idea what the story is about and it might make you wonder if there some music element to this story. There’s not. Anyway, bizarre choices there!
That said, I fairly enjoyed the story! It took inspiration from the real-life Varsity Blues college admissions scandal and tried to put a face to it and an explanation of why someone would pursue that illegal path.
What’s the Story About
Peyton is a co-host of the nation’s most-watched morning news show. She has a loving husband and an intelligent daughter. As her daughter graduates high school and gets ready to start Princeton in the fall, Peyton believes she has it all. Until she clearly doesn’t.
Her sister Skye is a stay-at-home mom who yearns for something more. She becomes obsessed with her project to help underprivileged children. But she makes some choices that will have lasting consequences.
It all comes to a head when the truth of Peyton’s daughter’s admission makes national news. And it will leave everyone scrambling and wondering what’s next?
Peyton’s character so reminded me of Jennifer Ainston’s character in the The Morning Show. In fact, the author did say she she wrote this story during the start of the pandemic so maybe she was an inspiration. Peyton is fine as a character—she struggled with school as a kid and is determined to always be on top of her game as an adult. She’s obsessed with image, weight and looking right for her part. But because of that she fails to see what is truly important in life.
Skye was also fine. I did sometimes find myself lose interest with her storyline from time to time. But then her character arc takes a turn that made her more compelling. Although, there is a bit of a white savior complex that I thought was tone deaf.
Return of Chick lit
Chick lit is a ridiculous term but for those who read novels of the genre from the early 2000s, you know exactly what I’m talking about here. These stories are like a romantic comedy played out in fiction. The novels have pretty much been replaced with today’s women’s fiction, which can be more serious. There’s also the romance genre, which is really heavy on the steam aspect. But chick lit had a combination of all that without leaning too much into one direction.
Lauren Weisberger is one of the queens of the genre. Devil Wears Prada is still a huge sensation and she’s been steadily writing novels since then. I think her novels are all decent but do feature similar topics about wealth, greed, redemption and remembering what’s really important in life.
I wouldn’t say there’s a ton of depth. There just isn’t—it truly is a story meant to read on a lazy Saturday afternoon by the pool. And that’s totally fine.
I’ve read a lot of heavy books this year so it was a nice switch to read something lighter. It won’t make any of my top lists but I still overall liked it. For book clubs, check out my discussion questions here.