I don’t know for sure, but I imagine the idea for The Do- Over came about like this: I’m guessing the author is an overworked woman balancing job, marriage, and motherhood (or perhaps she has experienced that trifecta in the past) when one day she stops and dreams about giving herself a day off from it all. Then, since she’s a writer, the woman takes the idea further and asks herself: What if someone really did that? And what if the escape started out as a day, stretched to a week, and ended up being a month? And what if my heroine not only escaped her town but went to another country? What would happen then? With humor and insight, Kathy Dunnehoff gives us the answers to those questions in The Do- Over.
Here’s the synopsis from Dunnehoff’s website:
When a solid wife and mother runs out of bubble bath, the ensuing panic attack drives her to Canada for more. She realizes one foamy bath probably won’t cure what ails her, so she commits to staying away from her life for thirty days. She changes her name, her habits, her style, her outlook, hoping she’ll be restored and ready to return home and buy ketchup in bulk again.
Her son’s visiting Grandma, and she’s sure her husband will understand. He understands she’s run away from home, tracks her down, and discovers she’s pursuing work at the bubble bath company and the owner’s pursuing her. Like any pro-active husband, he pitches a fit, cancels her credit cards, and flies his mom in to bring her home.
But home doesn’t look the same from a distance, and her new friends, the strip-club-loving Red Hat Society grandmas and a pack of lesbian jazz singers, help her discover home right where she’s planted. But thirty days goes quickly and even Dorothy had to make a decision about whether or not to click her heels back to Kansas…
The things I enjoyed most about The Do-Over were Dunnehoff’s understatement and sense of humor. For example, she describes a character’s night filled with strange dreams this way:
“All she knew was that her night had been filled with men. Not any she knew personally, but ones she’d come to know pretty damn personally by morning. There were men who touched her and whispered in her ear the kind of things she couldn’t believe her unconscious mind was capable of inventing. There were things she didn’t know men could do. Maybe they were things real men couldn’t do, but the secret men in her dark dreams were all kinds of capable, flexible, muscular, and excitedly creative….There’d been handcuffs, public parks, and if she remembered correctly, produce involved. She may never be able to look at a salad bar again without a measure of desire.”
I laughed out loud at that! I love that she didn’t give the specifics of her dreams but left me to imagine the “things” on my own, especially regarding the salad bar. That passage also told me a lot about the protagonist—that she was not the sort of woman who’d even think X-rated thoughts.
If you enjoy books with plenty of humor, and you can relate to how a harried woman might overreact if she ran out of her favorite bubble bath, then you’ll definitely enjoy The Do-Over.