Book Review – Gaga by Leslie Tall Manning

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Leslie Tall Manning
File Size: 772 KB
Print Length: 388 pages
Publication Date: May 20, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

BLURB: Monty is ready to rock. Funny thing is, she doesn’t know it yet! When her husband releases her from a stagnant marriage, forty-five-but-looks-thirty Monica Reese Taylor, freelance writer for Home & Goddess Magazine, gets the career opportunity of a lifetime. All she has to do is leave her daughter behind, change her name, dress like a crazed groupie, and for one month follow a comeback rock band as they tour the eastern United States.

But that’s not all: Monty has to spend time with the famous lead guitarist in order to get her story. A hot musician whose poster she kissed every night in her bedroom back in the eighties!

REVIEW: Since I like to celebrate strong women on my blog, I was attracted to the story line for this book when first approached to do a review. Monty is a strong woman, and there is much to like as you share her foray into a new life. The opening chapter had so many similarities to my Play It Again, Sam, I was actually smiling as I read it.

Monty takes a giant leap out of her comfort zone to pursue the magazine story, and maybe pursue something else in her life, and the uncertainly of that leap is handled well in the story. Monty alternates between being self-assured, as any successful professional would be, and totally questioning her every move, as every just-dumped person would do.

In addition to the main plot of taking a chance, I appreciated the deeper underlying themes of forgiveness, expectations, family and love, as well as the relationship between Monty and her daughter, Rachel. The family interaction was endearing, with the natural push/pull between parent and child very real on the pages.

For the most part the writing was excellent with good descriptions that didn’t bog down the story and dialogue that was crisp and natural. In some places the story dragged just a bit because of minutia that didn’t seem necessary, and I tired of the constant references to the poster and the closet and the teenage Monty who was in love with Donny Digits.

Even before reading the author’s bio, I knew she had play-writing or scriptwriting experience because instead of naming two characters in a scene, she referred to them as Girl #1 and Girl #2. That works in a script, but I found it distracting in a novel. Tripped me up and pulled me right out of the scene.

Still, this was a fun read, and I would recommend the book to anyone who likes a quick summer read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Leslie Tall Manning is a Theatre Arts graduate from Cal State University, Long Beach. She left Southern California for the Real South on a whim, and a decade later calls North Carolina her home. As a private English tutor and writing specialist, she spends her evenings working with students of all ages, and her days working on her own writing projects. She is happily represented by the TriadaUS Literary Agency.

Although Gaga is her debut novel, it is not her first. As a seasoned author of five Young Adult and five Adult books, her work has received high praise from readers and reviewers alike. To get to know Leslie better, please visit

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