Small Change by Sheila Roberts

Small Change

Small Change is about three women – Rachel, Tiffany and Jess – who are friends and neighbors. For different reasons they find themselves on the same financial boat and it is beginning to sink. Rachel, a divorced working mother of two, is coming to the end of a long-term substitute teaching job and can’t find another job. Tiffany works at a salon and has a shopping addiction that she tries to hide from her husband. Jess, housewife and former stay-at-home mom, has a jobless grown son living at home and a husband who is about to lose his executive job. These women need money. Yesterday.

Sheila Roberts’ latest novel holds a mirror to an issue faced by many people these days: financial difficulties due to job loss and related fall-out. Trying to compete with her ex, Rachel spends money on her children for things they really don’t need because she feels guilty saying “No” to them. She realizes that the unnecessary spending has to stop when she sees the end of her paychecks looming. Tiffany loves finding a bargain and she finds herself in trouble when she can’t pay her credit card bills – the cards she promised her husband she wouldn’t use anymore. She’s at the point of hiding purchases from her husband. Jess has a boomerang kid who sleeps until noon, surfs the web for a few hours looking for a job, and then heads out for the night to party with friends. That drives her husband crazy and results in shouting matches between father and son. On top of that, her husband’s bank has been bought out and he’s about to lose his job. Talk about stress!

In the past Rachel, Tiffany and Jess would meet weekly to make a craft, talk, share a bottle of wine, etc. In light of their financial situation they turn the weekly gabfest into brainstorming sessions for ways to bring in more money and improve things at home. There are moments of tears and lots of moral support as they start to figure out why they spend and begin to work their way out of their money troubles. It’s not an easy journey but the three women cheer each other on as they face the challenges along the way.

I think everyone can identify with at least one of the characters or knows someone just like one of the women. Because of that, Small Change would be a great selection for a book club. In typical Sheila Roberts style it is entertaining while addressing a serious topic. Roberts offers her characters (and readers) suggestions for cutting expenses and how to live well on a budget. I’m looking forward to trying a couple of her ideas myself!

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Review copy provided by the author