“En los zapatos de Valeria”, by Elisabet Benavent

One of the effects of post-pregnancy and lockdown is a desire to read light literature and in particular, romantic novels. So sue me! The world is already a dark place without me reading Knausgård and the like all the time. Let me be honest here, not everything is memorable, or nice, or even half decent, but here and there something a bit different comes along. Also, it has been adapted on Netflix! (the second season is far superior and much closer to the original story than the first one)

What is it about?

A bit of meta-literature here. Valeria is a writer and by the end of the book, she decides to write her own story (which, no surprises here, sells well!). Valeria is in an unhappy marriage, meets Victor (Maxi Iglesias, bless his soul, is Victor in the Netflix adaptation and once you see him, you can’t unsee him) through her friend Lola (the character we all want to be in reality) and from there on, everything becomes messy. Lola, Nerea and Carmen, Valeria’s best friends, also feature heavily in the book with their own mis(adventures). It is as much as story of love than it is of friendship.
It is the first of four books, so do not expect the story to be over by the end of this first one.

What makes it good?

Unlike the classic American love stories, this does not necessarily follow the tropes of the genre. There is far too much introspection and it is long enough to separate it clearly from the competition. The characters are realistic enough and the girlfriends group is one you would like to belong. And we all root for the roguish Maxi Iglesias… I mean Victor to get his happy ending (not sexually, of that he gets a lot, more on that later) with Valeria.

The style

It was a self edited novel and it shows. You see glimpses of the author actually being well able to produce a well written book, but in this first instance a lot of common sayings are used generously throughout the pages, to the point of grating a bit towards the end.
And if you don’t like “racy” books stay away from this one, because it is extremely explicit. “My panties evaporated under me” explicit.

Final Mark

It annoys me that Valeria, being 27 during this novel, talks about herself like she is an old spinster who will never find love (albeit having a husband and ending up being fucked energetically multiple times by a stallion of the caliber of Victor). Overall, though, I wanted to know what was going to happen to her and the gang and so, I kept reading. Is there any better advertisement to a book series than this?
Also, the fact that it allowed me for a bit to go back to Madrid and read expressions very dear to me, may have influenced my desire to stay within this world.
Also, it promises better sequels, where the author finds her footing.
Also, Maxi Iglesias. He could sell me anything. I would buy it.

6.5/10

On Bookreads

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