If You Tame Me - Book Review

If You Tame Me

Author: Kathie Giorgio
Genre: Fiction - Womens
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: September 26, 2019
ISBN-10: 1684333474
ISBN-13: 9781684333479

GoodReads Rating:

Book Review of :  If You Tame Me


If You Tame Me By Kathie Giorgio is a smart and witty story of self-discovery, evolution,  love, and spiced with a helpful, friendly ghost. The main character is Audrey. She turns 55 at the start of the story and laments about never having married or even having a special someone in her life. 

For her 55th birthday, Audrey decides she wants to buy some lovable creature to keep her company.  She dismisses buying a cat because she considers it too cliché and doesn’t want to be considered an old cat lady. Oddly enough she ends up buying an iguana, that she names Newt. Newt becomes a main character in the story. Her attachment to him is strong, and he becomes the "man" in her life.

But Newt doesn’t really fill the emptiness Audrey is feeling.  She realizes that she is grappling with a powerful new desire of wanting human companionship of the male type. She powers up her computer and signs up with a dating site and is astonished that there are thousands of available single men in her desired age group. But paring down the list and meeting these strangers is a daunting task.  Unknown to Audrey, she already had an eligible admirer, Frank, living right next door. She was totally unaware of his interest. He is a little older than her and like Audrey had attempted to fill his life with pets, in his case 6 parakeets.  He had lost his first wife, Theresa, to divorce, and his second wife died.  Is this guy next door the man she’s looking for? Well, she is going to get to know him better. Here is an excerpt of her dealing with her upcoming date:

“What’s going on with you tomorrow night?” Annabel said.
 Audrey filled them in on Frank.
 Both women sat back and considered. “An old guy who owns parakeets?”
 Annabel said. “An old guy who lives next door?”
 “He’s not that old,” Audrey said.
 Yes, Frank was retired, but that didn’t mean old. Did it? She hadn’t really considered his age.
 “At least he’s not some stranger,” Vicki said. “Not some whackazoid from the internet or stalker in a bar.”
And they were off. Audrey let them go and started wondering what she should wear to dinner and a movie. With the boy next door. Who might be old. Who owned parakeets. But who liked her iguana.
 Maybe, like Gilbert said, it was a match made in heaven. If you believed in that sort of thing.

Frank’s dating life starts getting complicated when he runs into his ex-wife, Theresa who had recently lost her husband who she had left Frank for. The accidental meeting revives some feeling in Theresa, causing her to want to take a shot at trying to rekindle their relationship.  Frank is new to the dating game and struggles with the how-to of dating as depicted in this excerpt:

“There, on the stoop, he considered. He was driving, but Audrey lived next door. Should he drive his car from his driveway to hers and then pick her up? Or should he walk to her door, then escort her here to his car?”

Susan was his second wife, and though she is dead, her ghost plays a pivotal role in the story. He can see her, and eventually, he feels her presence as if she was really alive. Susan hates Theresa, and perhaps that hatred was the power that caused her to return and guide Frank from the beyond. 

Audrey has also made friends with two young women, Annabel, and Vicki who work at clothing stores at the mall where Audrey works. Annabel, who works at Victoria’s Secret, has talked Audrey into buying flashy lingerie and Audrey does it due to the life crisis she is experiencing. The two girls are in their twenties, and are “frenemies.” They are friends, but Annabel is a wild child who loves men and partying after work. Vicki is a militant feminist who hates all men by her own admission. At least at first.

Clara is Audrey’s friend who she had lost contact with, but through the power of Facebook, they reconnect. They were best friends in college, and at that time Clara was a feminist and a lesbian. When Audrey reconnects with her, she’s amazed to find that Clara is married with two adult kids!

The story focuses on the apprehensions and fears of Audrey, who at turning 55 realizes she’s facing the rest of her life living alone. She initially tries to fill this void with her pet iguana. While she does develop quite an attachment to Newt, it's not until she has her affair with her neighbor, Frank, that she really feels "back in the saddle."

Audrey’s reexamination of feminism is also a major focus of the book. She looks at it from her youth to how she views it at 55, both through the writings of Gloria Steinem, and through the eyes of the younger girls she has befriended.

The book vividly expresses Audrey’s and her friend’s political leanings.  In fact, one entire chapter is dedicated to them getting together and writing postcards to "That Man in the White House." While the protagonist’s left-leaning is never in doubt, I will hand it to the author that she doesn’t turn it into a manifesto, and the political aspect is not the main point of the story, but rather a part of the total tale.

Kathie Giorgio’s novel is filled with smart and witty fiction. It is a soulful, edgy story about realistic characters familiar to us all that explore the most deeply felt moments of life with wry humor and heart. If You Tame Me is an entertaining look at how life can dramatically change as we mature and re-explore issues and feelings that suddenly seem alien as the gray sets in. Giorgio has mastered the art of writing about older heroines, and Audrey is her witty, wise, and highly likable poster gal for the graying set.

Reviewed by Jimmy Martin: author of "The Sam Cloustone Series."

Reviewed by: J Martin

About Kathie Giorgio


KATHIE GIORGIO'S fifth book, "Oddities & Endings; The Collected Stories of Kathie Giorgio", a collection of Giorgio's stories previously published in literary magazines, was released by the Main Street Rag Publishing Company in June 2016. It was selected for the Top 100 Must Reads for the Summer list by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Giorgio's first poetry chapbook, "True Light Falls In Many Forms," was also released in June 2016. Giorgio's novel, "Rise From The River," was released by MSR on April 1, 2015 and debuted at Carroll University, where Kathie was serving as Visiting Author. "River" was on several "Must-read" lists during the summer of 2015. Her first three books, two novels, "The Home For Wayward Clocks" and "Learning To Tell (A Life)Time," and a short story collection, "Enlarged Hearts," were also released by MSR. "Clocks" received the Outstanding Achievement award by the Wisconsin Library Association Literary Awards Committee and was nominated for the Paterson Fiction Award. "Lifetime", the sequel to "Clocks", debuted to a standing-room-only audience at the 2013 Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books, where Kathie was the welcoming Keynote. "Hearts" was selected as one of the 99 Summer Must-Reads by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2012. Giorgio's short stories and poems have appeared in over 100 literary magazines, including Prairie Schooner, the Chariton Review, Fiction International, and Harpur Palate, and in many anthologies. Her short story, "Half-Dressed," published in Deep Water Literary Magazine, was nominated for the 2014 Write Well Award, sponsored by the Silver Pen Writers Association. She's been nominated for the Million Writer Award and for the Best of the Net anthology and has been interviewed for articles in Poets & Writers magazine. She is the director and founder of AllWriters' Workplace & Workshop, an international creative writing studio. Kathie lives in Waukesha, Wisconsin, with her husband, mystery writer Michael Giorgio, their daughter, Olivia, and an even number of beagles and cats. Kathie's three older children live close by.

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