Practical Jean

Practical Jean

3.29 (738 ratings by Goodreads)
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Jean Vale Horemarsh is content, for the most part, with the small-town life she's built: a semi-successful career as a ceramics artist, a close collection of women friends (aside from that terrible falling-out with Cheryl years ago), a comfortable marriage with a kind if unextraordinary man. But it is only in watching her mother go through the final devastating stages of cancer that Jean realizes her true calling. No one should have to suffer the indignities of aging and illness like her mother did--and she, Jean Horemarsh, will take it upon herself to give each of her friends one final, perfect moment . . . and then, one by one, kill them.Of course, female friendships are quite complicated things, and Jean is soon to discover that her plan isn't as simple as she initially believed it to be.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 134.62 x 198.12 x 22.86mm | 226.8g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 0062082507
  • 9780062082503
  • 1,143,195

Review quote

"A tidy social commentary with some very dark dimensions."--New York Times Book Review
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Rating details

738 ratings
3.29 out of 5 stars
5 11% (80)
4 32% (237)
3 38% (277)
2 15% (112)
1 4% (32)

Our customer reviews

"Young can you possibly be a Horemarsh? You don't have a practical gene in your body!" accuses Jean Vale Horemarsh's mother, disapproving of Jean's career as a ceramics artist, her choice of a husband and in fact, of Jean altogether. However after caring for her mother during the last three months of her life, Jean discovers her mother was wrong. An idea coalesces, a practical alternative to her mother's agonising end, one that will spare her closest friends the indignities of aging. It's practically the perfect plan. Practical Jean is an entertaining novel with a quirky premise. The novel explores the themes of friendship, aging and quality of life with sharp observation and dark humour. The storyline stealthily spirals from the ordinary to the darkly absurd as Jean develops and then enacts her 'exquisitely practical' plan. I found the first quarter of the book to be a little slow to be honest but as Jean begins to evolve from an ordinary, if slightly eccentric, housewife and artist to a calculating serial killer I was constantly surprised by the direction Cole took his characters. Trying to provide her friends with a last moment of happiness before she murders them leads to some rather interesting situations. Jean is an unexpectedly sympathetic protagonist. The juxtaposition of Jean's whimsical sense of altruism and her practical actions is clever and though her thinking is undeniably skewed, her 'Angel of Mercy' motivation makes a weird kind of sense. Anyone who has nursed a loved one through the final painful stages of cancer would want to spare them the suffering, Jean just takes things a step too far. The supporting characters are also full of surprises, in telling Jean's story the author reveals the personalities that lurk beneath the surface. Practical Jean is a black humoured satire that I enjoyed for its unpredictability and unique characters. Subtly layered and well crafted this novel is an entertaining more
by Shelley Cusbert
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