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Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite
When I first dug into Apoca(hot)lips by Paula Houseman, my eyes bugged out and laughter bubbled up out of me. The main character, a divorcee called Ruth, has a somewhat tenuous relationship with her ‘cousin’ Ralph. Ralph is on a journey of his own to find out what he can about his birth mother. You see, they’re only sort of cousins. But it isn’t just Ralph making Ruth’s life more difficult than she’d like it to be. Her mother is a piece of work, her neighbors are making life difficult and, in general, Ruth has the entire world conspiring to turn her life upside down. Sounds like a lot of drama, right? Well, it is, but in the best possible way.
It took a while for me to warm up to Apoca(hot)lips and it had nothing to do with whether or not Ralph had a legit spot on the family tree. Paula Houseman has a unique writing style that took time to get used to, but the story telling and character development were solid. I truly appreciated Ruth’s tough as nails, “I ain’t no damsel" way of looking at the world. The way she takes on the people screwing with her own acceptance of her distorted fairytale was priceless and so true to her character that you couldn’t help but cheer her on. Ruth was unapologetic in her new approach to life and I found it admirable as well as highly entertaining.