Bare Necessity by Carole Matthews
Saturday, August 5, 2006

Written by Denise Turney


Bare Necessity is the second book I have enjoyed by author Carole Matthews.  Keeping to her noticed style, Matthews stitches humor throughout Bare Necessity, the story of a teacher whose life faces necessary change after she and all of London discover her nakedness is about to be revealed not only on the Internet but also on the pages of one of London’s most prominent and most widely read newspapers.  The teacher, one of the main characters in the book, is named Emily.  Her best friend, Cara, who practices yoga and aroma-therapy, thinks these tools are the answers to life’s struggles. What next when Emily and Cara are faced with experiences where these tools do not work?  News of Emily’s exposure reaches her employer. It isn’t long before she finds herself unemployed, homeless, absent an inspirational relationship, and better still, surrounded by scandal.

Life seems to be watching, because while at the center of the chaos, she bumps into a stranger while visiting an eatery she has frequented several times before.  That encounter connects Emily, the stranger, and their various friends.  Without intending to do so, Emily learns to forgive the one person who exposes her on the Internet and later allows the threat of print exposure to take place.

Readers seeking a quick read, a book whose plot is filled with intriguing yet humorous scenes, may find themselves thoroughly enjoying Bare Necessity.  Each scene in the book smoothly and gently links to the book’s overall plot.  Bare Necessity is a book of entertainment.  That said, the book also, intentionally or not, brings forth a timeless message of forgiveness.  I found the main focus of the book to be a woman, Emily, going through the different experiences and situations she finds herself amid, to learn more clearly who she is. As she gains greater knowledge about herself, those around her begin to change.  And it is the embarrassment of being physically exposed in the local newspaper that sets these chain-of-events off.  Sub-plots I found in the book where how what Emily wants but doesn’t expect to be gifted with appears to her almost by accident as she faces each new situation she finds herself pulled into with humor.

The writing is light yet insightful.  The message is universal yet hidden; it will appear at the book’s end.  You’ll laugh as you read Bare Necessity.  You’ll nod as you recall similar situations you were in, situations that connect you to Emily.  But most of all while reading Bare Necessity you will laugh and know you’re enjoying a good book.

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