“How to Change a Life” by Stacey Ballis is not just a lovely beach read; it’s filled with yummy food ideas and also some more serious topics. For example, when is a friend not really a friend? What happens when you lose touch with a friend and then find it’s too late to renew the friendship?
Ballis’ writing is lovely. It’s apparent that she is an experienced author. She does a nice job balancing description, dialogue, and plot. When Eloise, almost forty, meets up with her two best friends from high school, her life changes. They reunite and decide to pursue some of the dreams that they haven’t fulfilled in the past twenty years. They make it a bet, and they have to accomplish it before their 40th birthday.
The bet does force the three to change, perhaps Eloise most of all. The story revolves around Eloise, a personal chef to a wonderfully wealthy and wonderfully nice family. She meets a man, the first one to hold her interest since a disastrous relationship in France years before.
Mostly, Eloise and her friends learn to take risks. Eloise learns to stand up for herself, but she also learns that what others value in life might be very different than what she values — yet those very different things work for them.
One minor complaint is that everything that happens to Eloise in the book seems to come pretty easily. There is no tragedy, no huge setback; yet that doesn’t detract from the power of the lessons Eloise learns about life.
For anyone looking for a rather light but lovely beach read in these last days of summer, “How to Change a Life” is the perfect choice.
Please note: This review is based on the final, paperback book provided by the publisher, Berkley, for review purposes.