Ellen Harger’s novel, “Strong Enough” unravels the lives of women with music and feminism. It is a story of new beginnings, making choices, and the people we love and loathe along the way.
Female characters drive this fun, unique story. Right from the meet up of protagonist Whitney and fellow musician Gabe, it is impossible to not root for this heroine fire cracker. Along the way, Whitney shares past heartbreaks and successes that squash normalized, small town traditions. Past secrets reveal her courage and non-conformity, yet plot twists still surprise. Take character Sadie for instance, she is stubborn and impossibly likeable, and her path towards Whitney seems inevitable, though the growth of their meeting, unexpected.
Music throughout, with Whitney as a DJ, connects a main theme of starting over with harmony and structure. Whitney takes some of her over-the top analysis of life and puts it to creative use with coinciding musical content. Expect lots of music references and trips down memory lane. A mere mention of Samantha Fox made me jot down notes and get excited.
I wondered how feminism would be portrayed in this novel when reading the summary. Would it be watered down feminism or a backlash against it? At least one commonality I have with this novel is music, the other my background in women and gender studies. As the story unfolds I understood the way Harger uses both in the novel. Instead of theory, the lives of the characters play out the complexities of independence and being strong. Nothing proves this more than the pregnancy of Whitney and the pro-life agenda.
I highly recommend this book. It has been years since I have read a ‘chick lit’ novel. Much like Sophie Kinsella’s Shopoholic series, the mood is welcoming and anticipatory. Add “Strong Enough” to your summer favorites! I did.
For more information on Ellen Harger and “Strong Enough” check out her blog: