Wednesday, March 10, 2021

It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian

It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake
by Claire Christian
Published February 23rd 2021 by Mira

What if you made yourself your number one priority?

Of all the women and men Noni Blake has pleased in her life, there's one she's often overlooked--herself. After the end of a decade-long relationship, Noni decides it's time for that to change. She's finally going to prioritize her wants and desires and only do things (and people) that feel good in the moment.

As she embarks on a pleasure-seeking quest that takes her halfway around the world, she discovers that maybe she can have everything, and everyone, she's ever wanted.

Effortlessly hilarious and relatable, Claire Christian spins a fresh, feel-good tale about starting over as a thirtysomething woman who's been living life for everyone else. A story of self-discovery for the ages, Noni's journey serves as a sparkling reminder that life is what we make of it--so why not enjoy it?

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5 Stars

It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake was just such a joy to read. Noni Blake is here, she's queer, she's loud, and she's not really proud yet, but she's getting there. Noni's journey of self discovery, of learning to own her emotions and who she is, was beautiful and so authentic. She's been so bereft since the dissolution of her marriage that she's not paid attention to that fact she's unhappy, that she's been unhappy. Happiness is not as easy as love though, it's not as easy as following a list you make, it's not checking boxes, and Noni's figuring that out. She's doing the what ifs, quite literally, and making up some more along the way. What ensues is a hilarious, sometimes serious, adventure in sexuality, happiness, grief, and love. I read It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake in one sitting and if I could read it for the first time again I would, I just loved it so much.

I am of the perspective that her queerness was not looked over, rather Claire Christian writes it matter of fact. You know, the way we should treat it, rather than as some big difference. Why yes, I am queer in case you were wondering, and I do think I should just be treated equally and reading a book where the MC is treated that way was so nice. I am also of the belief that owning our sexuality is our business and what we do with it is personal and not up for discussion, so good for Noni for doing what she wanted sexually. It wouldn't be what I do, but I sure loved reading about it and the power it gave her. Oh, you don't think sleeping around should give people power? Good thing it isn't up to you. It helped things click for her and it made her face good and bad parts of her life, her choices, her thoughts. I was ALL ABOUT IT.

Noni Blake is the kind of character you grow to love, just like she grows to love herself. What is once embarrassingly awkward and painful self-criticism turns to embracing that awkwardness and learning to cheer for oneself. She finds joy in making choices for herself, in putting herself first, and in learning how saying yes, and sometimes no, are the key to happiness even if it doesn't make others happy. It's Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake is a satisfying, profound read about self love and empowerment and I cannot recommend it enough.

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