A Life Less Ordinary

A Life Less Ordinary

by Victoria Bernadine
4.3 9

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A Life Less Ordinary by Victoria Bernadine

For the last fifteen years, Rose “Manny” Mankowski has been a very good girl. But now, at the age of 45, she's questioning her choices and feeling more and more disconnected from her own life. When she's passed over for promotion and her much younger new boss implies Manny's life will never change, something snaps. In the blink of an eye, she's quit her job, sold her house and cashed in her pension, and she's leaving town on a six month road trip.

After placing a personal ad for a travelling companion, she's joined in her mid-life crisis by Zeke Powell, the cynical, satirical, most-read – and most controversial – blogger for the e-magazine, What Women Want. Zeke's true goal is to expose Manny's journey as a pitiful and desperate attempt to reclaim her lost youth – and increase his readership at the same time.

Now, armed with a bagful of destinations, a fistful of maps, and an out-spoken imaginary friend named Harvey, Manny's on a quest to rediscover herself – and taking Zeke along for the ride.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940044474505
Publisher: Love of Words Publishing Inc.
Publication date: 03/24/2013
Sold by: Smashwords
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 791 KB

About the Author

Victoria Bernadine (a pseudonym) is, as the saying goes, a "woman of a certain age". After twenty-something years of writer's block, she began writing again in 2008. Victoria enjoys reading all genres and particularly loves writing romantic comedy and post-apocalyptic science fiction. What those two have in common is anybody's guess. She lives in Edmonton with her two cats (The Grunt and The Runt). A Life Less Ordinary is the first novel she felt was good enough to be released into the wild.

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A Life Less Ordinary 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
PureJonel More than 1 year ago
Bernadine’s writing is inviting and easy to follow along with.  I found her descriptions and narrative easy to picture.  At the same time, I did find this story quite difficult to get into at the beginning.  There are so many sub-stories going on throughout the novel that you really get to know the supporting characters.  At the same time, the main story does get lost at times.  Everyone has real life issues going on, and it all fits together, but it’s just too much to get fully wrapped up in.   What a perfect heroine for this story.  I couldn’t help but thinking ‘that’s so me’ and ‘ I wish I had the guts to do that’ all at the same time.  Reading her story and getting to know her really puts things in perspective for you.  The downside to how well developed the entire cast is would be the fact that there is no single person or couple that grab and hold your attention.  Of course, the more I got to know the characters, the more I got into the story.  You just get so wrapped up in EVERYONE’s lives that you feel like you’re at home with your friends and family.   Overall, this was an enjoyable read with a great deal going on.  It’s not a single story, but the convergence of the lives of many women.   Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
JerseyGirlBookReviews More than 1 year ago
In her debut novel, A Life Less Ordinary, author Victoria Bernadine weaves an entertaining story of self-discovery that will keep the reader in stitches! Forty-five year old Rose "Manny" Mankowski's life is stuck in a rut. After working for fifteen years at the same company, Manny is passed over for a promotion that she deserved. Feeling tired and worn out with her ordinary life, she's had enough. Giving in to her mid-life crisis, Rose quits her job, cashes in her pension, sells her house, and decides that she is going on a six month road trip to destinations unknown that will challenge her to meet new people and try new things, get her outside of her comfort zone, help her rediscover herself, and put some spark back into her life. But she doesn't want to go on the adventure alone, so she places a personal ad online for a male travelling companion who can pay his own way and share in the expenses. Ezekiel "Zeke" Powell is a thirty-five year old freelance blogger with the e-magazine "What Women Want." Zeke's publisher wants him to go on the road trip and document Manny's adventure on his blog along with Manny guest blogging updates on her journey. Zeke thinks that Manny is a prudish, boring, and repressed middle-aged woman, and that the adventure will be a non-story, because he doesn't think Manny will go on the road trip, let alone be able to survive six months on the road. Will the six month road trip adventure challenge Manny and Zeke to discover who they really are, and teach them that they can live a life less ordinary? This was a fun story to read, it kept me entertained as I followed Manny and Zeke on their road trip. What made their story even more entertaining is Manny's imaginary fantasy man Harvey, who is outspoken and engages Manny in an ongoing humorous banter. Manny and Zeke's adventure turns out to be a journey of self-discovery that will change both of their lives. While Manny and Zeke are away, their families and friends are dealing with their own complicated life issues. I found it interesting that the author would interweave the various characters' individual storylines so that her novel actually turns into a story within a story that kept me on my toes. A Life Less Ordinary is a lighthearted and thoroughly entertaining story about learning to rediscover yourself and live an adventurous and less ordinary life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
eheinlen More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book a great deal. The storyline was easy to follow and the plot was strong. The characters were identifiable and well-rounded. I highly recommend it.
NeedToReadGotToWatch More than 1 year ago
A Life Less Ordinary is the first book published by Victoria Bernadine. Starting out at 'minus 31 days', we meet Manny Mankowski, a 45 year-old woman, who feels unmotivated and unattractive. She sticks to her routines like clockwork. Goes to work, goes home, repeat process.  To get her through the boring trivialities of life, she's created an imaginary beau- Harvey. Her Mr. Perfect. Harvey acts as her inner voice. Not just a conscience, but also a true reveal of her inner thoughts, some selfish and dark, some reassuring and hopeful. He is her sounding board. He helps her get through the days, but when she's passed over for a promotion at a job she's been doing for fifteen years, it tips the scales. Now off balance, she's thinking hard about her life. The missed promotion is a wake-up call and just puts emphasis on the 'dead-end' aspect of her career. But the deciding factor comes when she is faced with the prospect of another fifteen years working the same job at the same place, and she quits. She's decided to have her mid-life crisis (her words, not mine) in the form of selling her house and most of her belongings and departing on a six month road-trip around the States and Canada. But she doesn't want to travel alone, so she puts out an ad for a travelling companion and awaits the results, much to the shock of her sister, Daisy and best-friend, Rebecca. Zeke Powell works for an e-magazine called 'What Women Want'. He's a blogger famous for rocking the boat. He can be arrogant and fancies himself a ladies man, but is a good guy when push comes to shove. His boss, Leah, is also the wife of his best-friend, TJ, and she suggests he reply to Manny's ad and go with her on the trip. All for the purposes of their blog. They want to expose her 'mid-life crisis' to the world and try to gain popularity for their e-zine by doing so. He wants a scoop and he doesn't mind being a little cruel to get it. Of course, he doesn't tell Manny that. So, off they go, choosing the next destination from a hat (or plastic bag in this case), with Zeke (unbeknownst to Manny) blogging about her actions and his reactions along the way. He sees her as vulnerable and unaware and doesn't want to hurt her, but of course it won't stop him from writing, so he has to tone down the level of harshness usually present in his work.  They spend the time sight-seeing and generally exploring everything they can, all down to Manny's itinerary. The point of the trip for Manny, is to get out of her comfort zone and learn how to connect with people again. To be comfortable with strangers and start enjoying life. Zeke may just learn something along the way too. Meanwhile, Rebecca is struggling with changes of her own. Thirty years ago (when she was sixteen) her (then) boyfriend got her pregnant, changing her life forever. He abandoned her, her parents disowned her and if it wasn't for Manny and Daisy's parents, her life would've just about ended there.  Now her daughter, Jaime, is a grown woman, going through a divorce of her own. Mother and daughter don't have the best relationship, but Rebecca finds herself looking after Tris, Jaime's ten year-old daughter, as Jaime sets out to find the father she never knew. At the same time, Daisy's marriage is failing. She spends her nights at the casino. Her husband, Hub, is an estranged partner and father to their two teenage kids, and is rarely around. She labels herself a 'married, single parent'. They're already unhappy marriage is put to the test when Daisy discovers something Hub has been keeping secret.  Finally, Tj and Leah are trying for a baby, but are having complications. They're taking fertility tests to see if there's an actual biological reason why they're having such a hard time.  As you can tell, there are quite a few storylines going on in this book. All connected through theme, they focus on the complications of life- in all meanings of the word. There are many forms a journey can take, and many endings and beginnings to them. Change can be for the better or worse, through a decision we've made or something we had no control over, but in the end, it is what we choose to make of it. So many sub-plots can be confusing, but it works here, and each one is just as interesting and meaningful as the others. The focus is on Manny's journey, but the other stories aren't any less significant. The description of travelling is beautifully done, namely the emotions experienced. The wonder of a new place, the almost child-like joy and excitement. The curiosity, a little nervous tension and the anticipation all mixed up with good old-fashioned fun. How the journey differs when you share it with another, even just a stranger met along the way. It's so addictive and infectious that I'm almost tempted to take off on my own six month adventure. The characters are complicated and unique. They're not infallible. The relationships and conversations between them are enjoyably witty and very wry, especially between Manny and Harvey and Manny and Zeke. Harvey is more of a safety blanket. He's a constant figure, but is only ever constantly present, when Manny is stressed, afraid or nervous.  The relationship between Manny and Zeke is oddly endearing. Somehow, with all the confidence he shows and she lacks, Zeke comes across as the older of the two. Sometimes. Manny's friendly personality and honesty open people up to her. Zeke, however, while not necessarily dishonest (depending) is a closed-book. He won't straight out lie, but he will emit details or refuse the question. But it leads to quite hilarious interactions between the two. The characters are well-rounded and well-written. And you know what? I'm actually going to miss them. As odd as it sounds, they've grown on me. It's always sad when one journey ends, but you just have to keep looking forward to the next, and you'll always have the memories. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. To the point that I had trouble putting it down, and only managed it when (at 6 am) I was facing sheer exhaustion. What kept me reading so obsessively? In short, the characters. I've commented on why I think they're great characters, but I'm not sure I can so easily pinpoint why exactly I liked them so much. They're very real, and the way they interact with each other is as though they've been friends forever (which in many cases they have), and they pull you right into that inner circle. They make you their friend. They're not necessarily the most original characters, but when I'm with my own friends, or meeting someone new, I don't compare them to others, I don't find fault in similarities or unoriginality, I just see them for them. And that's what these characters are to me- just them. A rather subtle ending, with a call-back to the beginning. Such small things can be so big, while such big things can be so small. Life is scary. We all know it. They're will always be things we wish we could run away from, forget or change. But strength comes in not letting fear win. In standing up and fighting back. Yeah, life is scary, but it's real, and what more could we hope for? What better reason do we need to live purely for the sake of living? To come out of our shells and be who we really are, to let people see us as we really are. What better motivation do we need to do something a little less ordinary? Disclaimer: I received this book from the author. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.
Kyrana More than 1 year ago
A life Less Ordinary by Victoria Bernadine is a delightful book about a life in transition. The characters are believable and it was easy to make a connection to the lead character. There was quite a bit of time spent on supporting characters, which would probably make for great television. The story line followed the twists and turns of a discovery journey and left the reader hopeful without actually tying up all the loose ends. Very true- to life and a fun summer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Life Less Ordinary is a fun, chatty, witty novel that really grabbed me the more I read it. While the novel mostly follows Manny's roadtrip and Zeke's attempts to maintain his professional distance while documenting it, there are also three other side stories about Manny's sisters and Zeke's bosses. Together, the different threads cover all sorts of ways life can sucker-punch you. Manny's isn't the only life that changes over the course of the novel; everyone involved has to overcome an unexpected problem and grow from the experience. One side-story in particular - about a woman faced with raising her grandchild when her daughter proves incapable of doing so really resonated with me, and so did Manny's story of reclaiming her sense of self and self-worth in the middle of being middle-aged. I loved Manny's banter with her invisible "friend" Harvey - by far one of the best parts of the book. I also liked the way Zeke struggled to even see Manny as a "woman" rather than as an "old woman". The one thing I wished had been added was more excerpts from Zeke's blog posts, and I had the feeling that if the story had included two or three "blog readers" who "commented" each time he posted, the author could have added another fun and interesting subplot. Take this one to the beach when you have a long, lazy day ahead of you!
catscritch More than 1 year ago
A Life Less Ordinary by Victoria Bernadine I enjoyed reading this. I liked these people. I understood their lives and what drives them. This coming of ‘a certain age’ story held my attention from page 1 and never let me down. I want to meet these women and joke around with the men. And I know they’re out there. Waiting perhaps for a stranger to say “hi” and then let the pheromones kick in. How do you find yourself when you don’t even recognize yourself any more? Well, Manny started by looking outside her safe but shaken boundaries and by letting go, she is accepted for who she really is. Suddenly living A Life Less Ordinary.
Scoshie More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story of middle aged woman who got fed up with the routine that her life took on for the last 15 years. Rose `Manny' Mankowski has had enough. So she decides to quit her job, cash in her retirement, sell her house and hit the road. Not wanting to go alone she puts an ad out asking for someone to go with her that can pay their own way. Enter Zeke Powell. Unbeknownst to Manny, Zeke has a very popular blog called 'What Women Want' and he is writing about their trip. Join Manny and Zeke as they wend their way thru Americas attractions and budding friendship and see what happens.