Weiner’s dialogue is witty and quick, and she has some delightful minor characters. The book’s pace seemed uneven, however, and a little slow in the middle. Although articulated well as a character, Maggie was very unlikeable, so I didn’t enjoy the portions of the narrative that she carried. Certainly all three of the women (Rose, Maggie, and Ella) are flawed, but I found it difficult to be sympathetic toward Maggie, although I did find her transformation toward the end somewhat redeeming. Weiner just didn’t flesh out how she had changed in nearly as much rich detail as how she screwed up.
Rose reminded me of myself at some points, and I enjoyed the connection she had with Petunia the pug in particular. As with Maggie, I wish that Weiner had written more about her changed life. Rose’s assets and liabilities were specified so clearly at the book’s outset, and then Weiner expected me to accept her transformation without giving me as much to justify and explain it. I really wish the depiction of her relationship with Simon hadn’t skipped over so much time and so many developments. Weiner jumped from their first date to their engagement, and it seemed like, as a reader, I was left as puzzled about the events between as Simon was when he learned of Rose’s relationship with Jim.
I loved Ella and would have enjoyed more development of her relationship with Lewis. Again, Weiner set up the beginning in so much detail and then jumped and skipped over too much. With the richness used to set the scene and characters early on, I expected more from the rest of the book. Did she rush to finish it? Did she run out of energy or patience while writing? In Her Shoes just didn’t fulfill its potential. I don’t expect chick lit to rival Faulkner, but at the same time, I felt a little misled when Weiner failed to deliver on the book’s early promises. I must confess, however, that I would not rate the movie adaptation as highly as the book.