Skerrett, Joanne

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Skerrett, Joanne

PERSONAL:

Education: Studied at the University of Pennsylvania.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Boston, MA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Journalist. Boston Globe, Boston, MA, editor.

WRITINGS:

She Who Shops, Strapless (New York, NY), 2005.

Sugar vs. Spice, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Letting Loose, Dafina Books/Kensington Publishing (New York, NY), 2007.

Author of the blog Joanne's Bookland. Contributor to periodicals, including the Chicago Tribune and Raleigh News & Observer.

SIDELIGHTS:

Joanne Skerrett is a journalist. A former student at the University of Pennsylvania, she has written and worked on the staff of the Chicago Tribune and Raleigh News & Observer. She later gained a position as an editor with the Boston Globe. Skerrett is the author of the Joanne's Bookland Web log. Skerrett published her first novel, She Who Shops, in 2005.

The following year Skerrett published her second novel, Sugar vs. Spice. The novel centers around the two adult daughters of a minister, Melinda and Tari. Elder sister Melinda is a psychiatrist and places her image as a good mother, wife, and member of the congregation in high regards. Beneath the perfect image she tries to project, however, she is quite unhappy in her relationship with her husband, Michael. Journalist Tari, on the other hand, has always felt as if she never measured up to Melinda and she feels overly criticized by her friend Rebecca and elder sister. When Tari is diagnosed with breast cancer, her family is there to support her and give her the assurances she felt she never had growing up.

Stephanie Schneider, writing on the Romantic Times Online, commented that the story's "uneven characterization" as well as "the poorly developed male characters detract from what is at its core a moving story of recovery." Michelle Alexander, writing on the Sormag Web site, found that "the characters are strong and well written," but criticized that the final chapters of the story wrap "up all the loose ends rather rapidly." Booklist contributor Lillian Lewis observed that as the story progresses, Tari's "friends, family, and coworkers learn that they can get more with sugar than with spice."

In 2007 Skerrett published Letting Loose. Educator Amelia Wilson often finds herself in rough situations. Her students do not respect her, family members constantly ask her to help them overcome their problems, her best friend is mentally ill, and her roommates set her up with a blind date on a group trip to the island of Dominica. Her date, Drew, is everything she wanted in a man. However, she must confront reality when she starts to look past his façade.

A contributor writing on TheDominican.net noted that "Dominica presents the perfect backdrop with its lush beauty" for the story to take place. B. Nakia Garner, reviewing the novel on the Romantic Times Online, found Amelia's character to be "indecisive" throughout the story. Garner praised the author, though, noting that "Skerrett does a wonderful job of describing an island paradise." Rhonda Jackson Joseph, writing on the Sormag Web site, concluded that the author "has brought us a delightful tale that shows ‘right ain't always right’, and ‘wrong’ just might be the path to happiness."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 2006, Lillian Lewis, review of Sugar vs. Spice, p. 73.

ONLINE

Romantic Times Online,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (May 9, 2008), Stephanie Schneider, review of Sugar vs. Spice; B. Nakia Garner, review of Letting Loose.

Sormag,http://sormag.blogspot.com/ (July 28, 2006), Michelle Alexander, review of Sugar vs. Spice; (September 16, 2007), Rhonda Jackson Joseph, review of Letting Loose.

TheDominican.net,http://www.thedominican.net/ (September 10, 2007), review of Letting Loose.