The Art of Change is a great story about love, acceptance, and friendship. Set in the fast-paced life of New York City, this novel discusses different life issues that average New Yorkers face every day. The highly eclectic mix of characters – led by a neurotic gallery owner who denies she has found love with a sex therapist, a very competitive businessman raising an equally competitive teenage daughter, a Ukrainian wannabe socialite looking for love and being loved by her Corsican chef husband who seems content in life and doesn’t admit to being a gay until he meets this art critic who he unknowingly falls in love with, and the art critic’s detached father who finds home and acceptance with the Ukrainian socialite – will make you laugh and cry with them as they go through their daily life challenges on how to accept change and find acceptance.
I found this book on Book Club Reading List. This is the first novel about different characters and life issues that I have read and truly appreciated. To be honest, I got confused reading through the first few chapters of this novel, which left me wondering who the characters were and what role they were playing in the plot. This is partly due to the fact that I did not read any review or overview of this novel before opening the first page. So if you are like me who mostly reads novels written from a single person’s point of view but wanted to try a different angle like books about groups of people, I suggest you read reviews and overviews first; so as not to get confused and nurse a headache through the first several chapters.
What I like best about this novel is the lesson that the author has graciously imparted to us and how it made me smile and feel contented after reading the last page. And this lesson is finding acceptance from your friends and family who will be there to support you no matter whom you choose to be and who you choose to live your life with. We all make different choices in life but how we live through those choices is what actually defines us and not the choices we made or how or why we made them.
I love how the author developed the plot, which picked my curiosity as a reader and I let my mind wander with the story that is slowly unfolding in front of me. And before I knew it, I was laughing and crying with the characters. I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and found it easy to agree and disagree with the characters’ logic and actions.
Here is a part in the novel that I personally think is the turning point in the plot; well, it is a turning point for me because after reading this scene, it is when everything clicked together for me.
“Walking down Seventh Avenue, she showed him the Times Building, which is called One Times Square, and where they drop the ball every New Year’s eve. Then they started to walk uptown on Seventh Avenue, and she gave him a small lecture on the Theater District.”
This scene is what I personally think as one of the most important parts of the novel. It made me realize why the characters did what they did, why they left the people they are with at the beginning of the story and why they are pining for a different person through the middle of the plot.
And more importantly, it made me realize and appreciate the importance of a good setting in every novel. It made understand why authors carefully choose which place to set their novel and at which era; not only to add life and color to the story but also to complete the plot. It’s not just a backdrop or setting; sometimes – like in the case of this novel – it is why the story was developed in the first place.
Here’s another scene which really convinced me that the story was developed around its setting in New York City.
“It was Saturday, and the traffic was heavy. Chase was amazed with the movement. It wasn’t just that New York City was in constant motion, but everyone seemed antsy for change, and people didn’t settle into a life. They were in constant search.”
This thought was from a character that wasn’t mentioned until I was halfway through the novel, a character I thought was just mentioned in passing, but actually made a difference by the end of the novel. How he described traffic and the people in New York City summed up the plot. There was a constant motion throughout the novel and the characters were all antsy for a change – some knew what to change in their lives, some didn’t know. And while they all want change, they are reluctant to accept change even though they want it. Hence, they were all in a constant search to settle throughout the novel. But by the end, they each found peace and happiness by accepting changes and living those changes to the fullest.
I will not be any more specific on the story because I want you to have that same realization and contented smile I had after I finished this book. I assure that when you put this book down, you will be basking in with a sense of contentment and peace. And you will start to appreciate all the little things life throws at us – that they each have their own purpose and that we meet people not by chance but for a specific reason.
Because I can’t stop smiling and feeling at peace even after it has been days since I have finished reading it, I’m giving it a rating of four beach umbrellas. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to feel good about their selves and their lives, especially to those who are finding it difficult to appreciate life and live every day like it’s their last. I am ending this review with one of my favorite quotes from the book.
“No negative thoughts now. A negative mind is the greatest evil that resides in us. Fear nothing! All is going to be swell!”
About the Author
Kelly Andria is the pen name of two very close friends who decided to write a story to make people laugh. The two authors, although different in many ways and viewpoints, have a lot in common. Both Greek Americans coming from conservative vibrant families, they learned to speak and act as they believe. Fair but always kind. Their passion for art, food and romance led them to become authors of a comedy that redefines the “boy meets girl” norm. The wacky one of the group knew that they had the stories in them. The other half quickly became convinced as their quirky characters took shape and form and gained a voice of their own.