Tattoos & Tatas by Tara Sivec (Chocoholics 2.5)
Emotional and Funny. Can stand alone.
Since I have read and reviewed the Tattoos and Tatas e-book by Tara Sivec already, I am going to attach my initial review with some new feelings after listening to the audiobook a few months later.
Hands down, the BEST audiobook narration I have heard. I find that in audiobooks a narrator can really ruin a good book. This recently happened to me from another author’s audiobook. I LOVED the e-book, but could not even listen to the audiobook all the way through. So I have to say, the narrator in Tattoos and Tatas was perfect. She was exactly how I pictured Liz’s voice to be, normal. Someone I want to hang out with. Approachable. Never over or under acted, yet you could feel the emotion. She could not have picked a better reader for the job.
In my initial review, I made it seem like you should already be familiar with the characters to read this. That isn’t the case, though I must say, if you like silly and sweet humor, I totally advise reading the Chocolate Lovers series, it’s my favorite. But Tattoos and Tatas stands alone just fine.
I just had a friend who had a mastectomy. I don’t know her that well, but I have the paperback all wrapped up and ready to give her, because everyone can use a little humor during the tough times, right?
So the combination of one of the best books I’ve read and the best narration make this an absolute MUST READ if you have any bit of a silly sense of humor, but you should know it’s not all about the laughs….
Those of you who know me, know that The Chocolate Lovers and Chocoholics Series by Tara Sivec is my favorite series. The characters are not only the funniest I have ever read, but they are like my favorite friends. That is what I love so much about the series, it’s funny, with heart, is sexy, and has the people I want to hang out with so badly. That is why I started Wicked Book Weekend, so I could
stalk hang out with Claire Tara in real life.
While there were were emotional sweet moments in the Chocolate Lovers and Chocoholics Series, overall, the funny and the romance were the stars. With Tattoos & Tatas, Claire and Liz’s friendship is the star. It’s like a love letter to her BFF.
“Oh, shut up, I’m not a lesbian. I’m talking about my best friend. My PERSON.”
I have never cried my way through a whole book, yet laughed my ass off the whole time too. Only Tara Sivec can do that.
I had a teeny bit of trouble adjusting at the beginning, because Tattoos & Tatas was the first book told from Liz’s point of view (which I ended up loving). I was so used to Claire, I had a little trouble remembering who’s head we were in. Keep in mind, This is a Chocoholics book. The Chocolate Lovers were when they were in their 20s, Chocoloholics-40s. Claire and Liz had been as close as best friends could be since they met in high school. Tattoos & Tatas is told both in the present, and through flashbacks over the years, and we get to find out all of the stuff we missed.
I loved the flashbacks to 10th grade, with some awesome late 80s references (by the way Tara, I STILL like Love’s Baby Soft), and how Claire and Liz bond over their mutual hatred for everyone and love for Heathers (the movie). They were immediately inseparable and have been for over 30 years.
“So, I have cancer. Who wants more wine?” Claire states with a big smile.
Of course, Jenny whips out her Blistex to cure those pesky mouth (CanKer) sores. But Liz, well she doesn’t know what to do. Over the years, she has been the strong caretaker, the fixer.
“My best friend has CANCER.
Why can’t I feel anything? Why can’t I do anything?”
While Claire delivers the news lightly, it is still Jenny who adds the comic relief to a tragic moment.
“You know Drew and I play mammogram all the time…Drew dresses like a doctor and I put on a robe. Then, he takes two dinner plates from the kitchen and he smushes–”
Liz is dumbfounded. She refuses to believe.
“I mean how is it even possible that one of us is old enough to get breast cancer? I’m not stupid, I’ve seen the statistics and I know it can hit anyone at any time, but those are people I don’t know.“
Back to flashbacks of college, and watching their friendship develop, and seeing as they drunkenly imagine owning a store together. Meet their husbands, have a baby…through it all, Liz has been there for Claire.
“Right at that moment, I knew that I would do anything for my best friend. I would hold her hand when she was in pain, scream at my catatonic fiancé when he saw her vagina and sit by her side when she became a mom. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for her and I knew that’s how it would always be.”
While Liz may not be handling Claire’s Cancer well, Drew and Jim provide lots of comedy, especially on the hospital forms they fill out. But Liz just keeps going over thirty years of best friendship in her head. Liz is the bossy, in charge person in the group, and she can’t deal with feeling helpless. While Claire and the guys are trying to find humor in it, Liz just can’t.
“I have no idea how to find humor in any of this bullshit. We have so much more living to do, she and I. We have a business to run together, the wedding of our children to plan, and future grandchildren to corrupt.”
Though I teared up a lot at the beginning, the first time I broke into a full out hiccoughing hysterical cry was when Carter lost it.
“FUCK YOU GOD! FUCK YOU FOR DOING THIS TO HER!” he cries, his shoulders shaking with sobs as he completely breaks down. (I am totally bawling again as I write this review.)
Yet 2 pages later, with tears and snot still rolling down my face, I am cracking up.
“LONG LIVE SHAVED PUSSY!”
Though most of the story is brand new, we do get to relive a few great past scenes from Liz’s perspective.
“Jesus Christ, my best friend was going to have a baby…”
“Could you imagine having a kid who repeated everything we say? Kid would be a goddamn genius, I’m telling you.”
But it’s how she feels now that really got me. Liz was so REAL. Nobody knows what to say to someone when they or a loved one has cancer. Even your best friend. While Claire seemed to be handling it amazingly well, she needed her best friend, and Liz was so lost.
“Is there a book called “How to Talk to Your Best Friend When She Has Breast Cancer For Dummies”? I might need that. I’ve always been there for her when she needed me. I’ve always known the right things to say, why should now be any different?”
Though this is a Chocoholics book in sequence, it is way more of a Chocolate Lovers book. Even more, it’s a Liz and Claire book, but we still get the rest of the original six for humor. We know the grown kids are around, but they really took a backseat in this book, and I think it worked by not overwhelming the story. Tattoos & Tatas is honestly a work of genius, and I think it’s my favorite to date of all of Tara’s books.
- That 100% of the proceeds every October will be donated to Breast Cancer Awareness.
- Tattoos and Tatas felt way longer than it is, in a good way. It was a very full story, that I think can easily standalone, I was shocked to see the number of pages was less than 150.
- The huge amount of emotions was ridiculous.
- I have never been sobbing and laughing like that before. AT THE SAME TIME.
- Seeing when Liz and Jim really meet and get together at the same frat party.
- Reading about a 30 year friendship.
- The Arby’s beefy vagina jokes were abundantly available.
- More of Jenny’s idiocy.
- How REAL Liz was. She didn’t know how to handle it, and I loved reading her thoughts. I totally got her.
- The little foreshadowing she put in all of the flashbacks, like predicting My Little Pony will make a comeback, and suggesting you could get knocked up just by ringing the doorbell at a frat party.
- Almost the entire book is yellow from highlighted quotes.
- Tons of scenes that were never mentioned in previous books, even though they happen around the same time. So it’s more in the Seduction and Snacks timeline. (I so want to hang out with the 6 of them! Luckily I might have 4 at Wicked Book Weekend.)
- Rice Krispie Treats (nomnomnom)
- I’ve been postponing making a mammogram appointment, but I made one while reading this.
Not really a dislike:
- Not really a dislike, but a mention that having Liz as the narrator took a bit of adjusting to, especially because I thought she was the one who gets sick before I went in. (Not a spoiler, it’s in the first 5 pages.), but I ended up loving it.
Tattoos & Tatas is pure genius. Tara wrote a story that I think people new to her will enjoy because it covers the past 30 years (though it may have some spoilers of earlier books), and people who know and love the Chocolate series will love it even more. She does a beautiful job of making you bawl your eyes out and then laugh within a page or two, so you never wallow in your sadness. It was an amazing tribute to best friends, and still worked so well in the overall story. It filled in some of the little blanks from the years, like how Liz and Jim met at the party, and went even earlier, to how Claire and Liz met. I never had an issue with the flashbacks, and never got confused as to what I was reading. I honestly can’t imagine any way Tattoos & Tatas could have been better. It was a brilliant book that made me laugh and cry throughout it all, AT THE SAME TIME!
Purchase Tattoos & Tatas by Tara Sivec
CHOCOLATE LOVERS (Covers go to Amazon)