Book Review: Pink is a Four-Letter Word (Toronto Series #11) by Heather Wardell

Nothing ever comes easily for Larissa, a makeup artist who both loves and fears pink and all things feminine. She longs to start her own business as her late dad had wanted but never quite gets there, her attempt to host her best friend's son's christening is a disaster, and the only dates she can get are dreadful.

When she's offered a job teaching English in Kuwait, at first she says no because her life is bad enough at home without throwing sand and camels into the mix. But when everything goes wrong at once, she can't stay in Toronto another second so accepts the job in the hopes that she will be a new and better person there.

But can she really leave her psychological baggage behind, or is it true that 'wherever you go, there you are'?

Release Date: April 4, 2013
Age Group: Adult
Source: Review copy from author

I've read all of the books in Wardell's Toronto series, and have always liked Larissa as a character.  I found her intriguing and wanted to know more about her.  So I got really exited when I learned that Wardell was featuring Larissa in Pink is a Four-Letter Word.  

Larissa is like so many women in that her inside feelings don't match her outside shell.  She puts up a facade to the world, and shows them a confident, self-assured woman who never makes mistakes.  She's cool, collected, and confident.  But the real Larissa is much different.  She doesn't have great self-esteem and her inner critic is turned all the way up to high volume.  Larissa criticizes everything she does and feels that she makes all the wrong choices.  These wrong choices extend from her choice of boyfriends, career, to even small things like accidentally misspelling a name for a baby gift.  

Larissa is constantly beating herself up and eventually gets to a point where she realizes that she needs to completely escape her life.  She is a makeup artist but on a whim decides to take a position teaching English in Kuwait.  The school does not require teachers to have a teaching background, so she decides that if she moves to another country she can start completely over and be a different person.  

But, her choices (which are really the highest level of denial of her true self) come along to Kuwait with her and Larissa sees that the old adage: 'wherever you go, there you are' really is true.  It's not until Larissa starts to recognize her true self and stand up for herself, defending her choices to those who would criticize her, that she grows as a character.  She moves from one extreme (self-loathing) to another, and finally ends up in a state of self-acceptance and self-love.  I loved this theme, and Larissa's journey was my favorite thing about this book.  Wardell's best talent is writing her characters in a way that the reader really sees herself in the characters' thoughts, actions, and feelings.  Even when I am completely different from Wardell's characters, I can always see myself in them, and I love that.

The one thing I didn't love about Pink is a Four-Letter Word is that there was too much casual sex in it for my liking.  I like intimacy to go alongside of characters being in love, but that's just me.  I know much of the people in today's world don't think that way.  

Besides Larissa's story, the story arcs of the minor characters were well fleshed-out and added a lot to the book.  I especially loved Larissa's students, and thought that Wardell did a great job bringing her classroom to life.  

Pink is a Four-Letter Word is one of my favorite books out of the series, and I highly recommend it, and all of Heather Wardell's writing!

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