Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell: 04/16/22
Savvy Sheldon Feels Good as Hell by Taj McCoy is a contemporary romance set in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. Savannah "Savvy" Sheldon works long hours as an insurance adjuster, loves to cook despite her falling apart kitchen, and has recently been dumped by her boyfriend of six years. With Jason out of her life she decides to "upgrade" herself, her house, her job, and her love life.
The long and short of it is, Savvy does manage to accomplish all her upgrades. There's still drama in her life but it's peripheral — like her uncle losing his home. She manages to cross everything off her list and there's very little pushback in any of the things she sets out to do, despite clearly working on a deficit of time and frankly physical abilities.
Savvy works a high stress, long hours job. She used to play tennis but was injured and had to give it up. Yet, she's back now playing and doing yoga and taking regular hikes in nearby Griffith Park. Sure, she faints during her first yoga session but that's it as far as overdoing it goes for Savvy. She pushes herself to what should be the breaking point physically and emotionally and nothing happens.
Usually in romances that focus on a determined woman trying to do more than the everything she was already doing, something reaches a breaking point either at the first third or second third of the novel. It's a point where she is forced to reassess her life and her priorities. Before Savvy gets to that point she takes a staycation and gleefully continues to exercise herself to the point that would probably injure her if she weren't fictional.
Some reviews have commented on how fatphobic or ableist Savvy's path through the book is. For me it wasn't that. It makes for a boring book.
The chapters leading to the breakup with Jason and the initial meeting with Spencer are focused. In the first fifty pages or so, Savvy has the strong, unique voice of a fully realized character.
As she starts on her to-do list, the third person POV works against Savvy and the novel as a whole. Savvy is shown in different scenes doing different things but there's never any sense of how she feels. Is she enjoying herself? Is her plan satisfying her inner needs? Does she ever regret or question the changes she's making? Is she every exhausted? Does she ever regret trying to be a superwoman?
The closer Savvy gets to accomplishing her "up-grade" the less interesting the book becomes. It goes from being a character focused novel to being a laundry list of accomplishments.