"STEFI" is the story of an emotionally charged, riotous game of psychological and physical hide and seek.
Sue K. is an attractive, accomplished production executive, whose acerbic wit and somewhat jaundiced outlook often prove intellectually challenging but romantically disastrous. This---coupled with a nightmarish mother and a certain sense of caution---results in the dissolution of Sue's relationship with Matt, her best friend and lover. Enter Stefi!
Stefi is a latter-day hippie, an anachronistic 25-year-old flower child in tie-dyed clothes. Accompanied by the music of Led Zeppelin, the Stones, and the Beatles, she's a meteoric force who charges into Sue's life---and when things really get moving, Stefi disappears, leaving Sue in the thick of things. Having thrown caution to the wind, Sue is left to deal with the results. By the time the pair leaves London to travel to the furthest parts of the world, Sue, encouraged by Stefi, has had to confront work, men, her mother, and her very being, in order to begin an entirely new chapter in her life.
Stefi is the story of an amazing friendship, a spiritual, romantic comedy across the outlandish peaks and through the emotional valleys of two diametrically opposed women -- one the catalyst, the other the vessel -- seeking experiences that have eluded them both.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.1" Width: 6.1" Height: 1" Weight: 0.95 lbs.
Release Date Jan 10, 2007
Publisher Robert D. Reed Publishers
ISBN 1931741808 ISBN13 9781931741804
Availability 90 units. Availability accurate as of Oct 21, 2016 10:55.
Usually ships within one to two business days from La Vergne, TN.
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A book that will stay with you long after reading the last page! Jul 26, 2008
I was up to 3:00 am reading Stefi and then woke up at 5:30 am to continue reading. I literally could not put this book down! This is a book that will definitely stay with me. The ending was a complete surprise and makes me want to read the book again. I gave this book to a close friend this morning simply saying, "You MUST read this." Stefi is literally one of the best books I have ever read!
Glimpses into a life Mar 23, 2008
Reviewed by Audrey Larson for RebeccasReads (3/08)
Who or what is Stefi? When she constantly shows up at 42-year-old Sue's workouts in the gym in London, practically forces friendship on her and subtly (and not so subtly) encourages big changes in Sue's life, one wonders.
Stefi doesn't give her phone number or address, and seems to live on tortilla chips and wine. Stefi dresses and acts like a 70s hippie, is supposedly 24-years-old, but also has insights and wisdom to give Sue. Stefi first appears in Sue's life after Matt, her boyfriend of several years breaks up with her.
Sue's next love interest is a doctor, who was also her gynecologist. They have fun for a while, but he is a cheapskate, and the way Sue dumps him is incredibly funny. Stefi encourages Sue to change jobs, and embark on a journey to India, where Sue meets an old school friend, has new job opportunities, and discovers that life in India is far different than anything she has experienced before.
The old friend, Jake, becomes Sue's next love interest, and also her guide to the ways to get along in India. Jake became very rich at an early age, and had enough money to live the rest of his life without working again, if he wishes. Jake wants to marry Sue, although he is at least 5 inches shorter than she is, and her mother makes all kinds of snide remarks about it. Sue's mother is twice widowed and never seems to have a nice word to say to Sue. She is extremely harsh and mean-mouthed, hates sex, and never hesitates to say so. Stefi doesn't like Sue's mother or Jake. In fact, strangely, Stefi doesn't like any of Sue's love interests except Matt.
Stefi is supposed to join Sue on her trip to India, but at the last minute she says something came up, and she will join her later. So, Sue embarks on her journey to and in India alone until she meets Jake. The teeming masses, heat, humidity, lack of adequate plumbing and sanitation, plus the diseases and poverty change Sue's outlook on life. Volunteering at a hospital for sick and dying people, one of whom Sue becomes close to, opens her eyes to life. When one young woman whom she attends in the hospital becomes snarling and angry when dying, because of all her lost opportunities, Sue realizes what a good life she really has.
Along the way, in India, Sue has encounters with two funny pigs, yaks, a tour bus with bald tires, and sees the Taj Mahal and other beautiful sights, as well as the slums, poverty, and overpopulation. Sue also faces danger as a taxi driver drives in the opposite direction from where she wants to go, and then tries to assault her. Sue literally has to run for her life.
Sue's production work on a documentary proves her skills and abilities, and consequently she receives even better work opportunities. She also makes more money than she ever had before in her life. When Sue is back in London, with a better job, she has Stefi redecorate her apartment with much brighter colors and fabrics from India. When Jake becomes difficult upon their breakup and refuses to give her plant back, Sue retaliates by swiping his Indian bedspread. It becomes the focal point of her newly redecorated bedroom. Sue realizes that Stefi is her best friend ever, and the end of the book is surprising when Matt re-enters her life and Stefi is revealed for what she really is.
Jenny Paschall has written a book with humor, frank language, sexuality, and glimpses into life in London and India. "Stefi" is an intense, interesting read.
A Perfect Blend of Humor and Poignancy Mar 9, 2007
Sue K. has done well in her career, at least. At age forty-two she is a production executive, a job that most people would find rather glamorous. Despite success in her work, Sue knows the rest of her life is a disaster, especially in the romance department. Sue can blame part of this on her more than difficult mother, but she must shoulder part of the blame herself. Her somewhat cynical nature and sharp wit have been a definite factor in driving off Matt.
Just when Sue feels she has reached a new low spot in life, she meets Stefi. Stefi is only twenty-four and not someone Sue would usually pick for a friend. There is just something about Stefi that is irresistible with her joy and love of retro clothes and music. Stefi inspires Sue to try new paths in life, but suddenly disappears just as Sue sets out on a life-changing adventure.
Sue leaves for India with Jake and learns almost as much about herself as she does about both the beauty and tragedy of the cities she visits in that ancient land. The author is quite adept at mixing humor and pathos. You will never feel quite the same about eating pork or pigs, in general , after reading about Sue's adventures in Goa. Counterpoint to laugh out loud moments, there are scenes that are heartbreaking in their depiction of the effects of abject poverty. The author is able to pull on the reader's heartstrings without becoming maudlin.
STEFI is told in diary form, a device that has become quite popular in recent years. This is no angst-filled BRIDGET JONES DIARY, though. The author is able to show Sue's rawest emotions with this type of narrative and the reader views the other characters as they influence Sue on many levels. Sue's year long journey of self discovery is bound to resonate with female readers of many ages. We all know, deep down, that choices not made and paths not taken, may have more impact than poor choices.
This novel shows the author's superb storytelling ability in being able to mix romance, fun, adventure and poignancy into a riveting plot. This is a tale that will haunt you and perhaps have you re-think the choices you make in your everyday life. Through Sue and Stefi, the reader can see the ripple effect our lives may have on others even in seemingly inconsequential matters.
STEFI is Ms. Paschall's dazzling debut novel. She does have an impressive writing resume already in American and international television and has written four trivia books. Ms. Paschall was born in London and still writes features for the Sunday Express in England. She currently lives in the United States. I look forward to future novels by this talented author.
Witty, acerbic and moving, this is a novel that is hard to put down. Sunday Express (London) Book Review Dec 28, 2006
Sunday Express Book Review (London,England) Reviewed for the Sunday Express by Michelle Stanistreet Reviewed March 25,2007
Sue K is 42 years old and having a bit of a mid-life crisis. She works in production, is great at her job, but is rarely appreciated; she's still reeling from a break-up with Matt, the man she thought was "the one"; and her mother is a total nightmare. Just at her low point, she meets Stefi - a 24-year-old, vibrantly-dressed hippie who makes a beeline for Sue at her local gym. It's as if they've always known each other. Stefi seems so tuned in to Sue's moods that she always seems to appear when Sue needs her - armed with a bag of tortilla chips, a bottle of wine, a shoulder to cry on and some sassy words of advice.
Despite the age gap, Sue is open and willing to take a lead from the vital young woman who enters her life in a whirlwind and quickly takes her in hand. "We were getting like an old married couple after one week of association," notes Sue in one of the diary entries that make up the novel.
Stefi seems to unleash Sue's alter ego - a new, improved Sue with more self-confidence, get-up-and-go in spades and a zest for life that had long deserted her. Experiments with clothes, men and work all follow.But leaving London provides the key to Sue's transformation. Egged on by Stefi, she jacks in her job and fulfils her lifetime's dream to travel around India.
Her journey there, taking in Delhi, Goa, Calcutta and the Himalayas, is wonderfully evoked. India charges Sue with energy and a thirst for life that she's never experienced before. It truly becomes a life-changing experience for her when she works as a volunteer alongside the nuns running Mother's Teresa's Home for the Dying in Calcutta. The scenes here are heartbreaking and genuinely moving.
Throughout the book, the relationship between Stefi and Sue is brilliantly captured, their exchanges fizzing with effervescent humour, making for several laugh-out-loud moments. Both seem to be seeking experiences that have been denied them, although Stefi remains something of an enigma. The ending has an intriguing twist that keeps you guessing (almost) to the final pages. Witty, acerbic and moving, this is a novel that is hard to put down.
I fell in love with this book! Coffee Time Romance Reviewer: Kathy 5 Cups (Highest Rating)
Sue Katz is a forty-two year old production facility manager with an easygoing manner and a penchant for being a yes woman. Because of this, Matt her boyfriend of three years proclaims he can no longer put up with her indecisiveness and leaves her. Heart sick and aimless, she buries herself in her work and starts frequenting a gym where she meets Stefi. Unable to resist this tornado of a woman, Sue strikes up a friendship with her, but is plagued by Stefi's vague answers to almost all of her questions, so she does not push the issue. Growing up with a mother who did not quite know what to do with a child made this come naturally. Will she ever stand up for herself?
Stefi is vague in a hippie type way, always wearing colorful clothes more suited to the seventies than the new millennium, marching to a different drummer on any and all issues. She loves pushing the envelope where Sue is concerned. She challenges Sue to get back into the dating world and demands to hear all of the details, living vicariously through Sue's escapades, sexual and otherwise until Sue has had enough for the time being. When Sue starts to assert herself, Stefi goads her into trying new and different things just to test Sue's resolve. Finally, Stefi brings up the subject of Sue's job, and questions her about where she is ultimately going, making Sue realize that comfortable and safe is also boring and meaningless. Convinced, by Stefi that life is meant for the living, Sue and Stefi set out to fulfill a dream by traveling to India. What ultimately happens is straight out of every woman's dreams.
Ms. Jenny Paschall has written a "laugh out loud" novel. I became enthralled from page one and found myself laughing hysterically at the descriptions of Sue's mother; I thought she was describing mine for a while! Her wit is sharp and on point; her observations of the male species is dead on perfect. Sue is a typical easygoing, "easy to get along with" type with whom I identified. Stefi is a mystery until the very end.... and the conclusion does not disappoint. I fell in love with this book!
"....absolutely should not be missed!!" Reviewed by: Jeri Neal The Romance Reader Connection Rating: 4 ½ (Superior/Excellent)
Sue is an attractive, accomplished forty something production executive, living in London, who seems to have a particularly difficult time with her romantic endeavors. When the book begins she has just broken up with Matt, her long term lover and best friend. She meets Stefi at the gym and Stefi is the opposite of Sue.
Stefi is in her 20's, dresses like a modern day flower child, and is evasive about her life and work. She quickly becomes Sue's best friend and they share many evenings over tortilla chips and wine. Stefi blows into Sue's staid, boring existence like an earthquake, shaking and cracking her foundation of conservative beliefs about what she can and cannot do with herself.
Curiously, Stefi seems to disappear just as Sue is pushed into something new and exciting, such as three months spent traveling in India. Stefi coaches and pushes from the sidelines but it is Sue who is exhibiting the courage to change her life.
Readers are privy to Sue's disastrous choices in male partners and catch a glimpse into the difficulties inherent in finding a male companion when you are "of an age". It's an understatement to say that Sue struggles with men and relationships.
This book grows on you and becomes more compelling with each page. The descriptions of India are exquisite and clear. It is so evident that the author writes what she knows. The most compelling reason to read this book occurs in the last 20 pages of this book and absolutely should not be missed. It is so unexpected and surprising that even the most jaded reader will be shocked at the outcome.
Told in the style of a personal diary kept by Sue, this book offers a glimpse into a woman going through subtle but powerful life changes The plot will carry readers through Sue's international and interpersonal travels. Highly recommended!
Unlikely friendship. Dec 23, 2006
Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for Reader Views, 12/06
Sue is an executive with a nightmare mother and a broken relationship, when she meets Stefi, a free spirit, hippie, and 70's flower child. Their personalities are like night and day yet their friendship grows. The duo plan a trip to India but at the last minute Stefi leaves a note saying there is a family emergency and that she won't be joining Sue, right away. When she does arrive in India she becomes a little jealous "Well, look at you. Back in London you were a spineless wonder who wouldn't say `Boo' to a goods, and now you're `Miss International Traveler', fearless and intrepid, just bulldozing your way across continents, helping the dying and putting the world to rights."
This book will keep you in stitches. Jenny Paschall's humor is contagious. I've never laughed so hard in my life. The thought of Sue dating her stingy GYN, telling off Jeremy in front of everyone and Stefi selling pubic-hair and not quite used panties left me with tears running down my face I was laughing so hard. Each chapter gets funnier and the main characters more endearing. Yet beneath the humor lies a strong more serious side of this book.
The cover of "Stefi" is the perfect introduction for this book. The storyline flows smoothly. Ms Paschall is an extremely talented author. The plot has a twist that I never saw coming. Just when I thought I knew the direction this book was taking it twisted a totally new way. It's hard to believe this is her first novel; I eagerly await her next one. I highly recommend this book to those that enjoy really good fiction. Well done Ms. Paschall.