Just Pru, by Anne Pfeffer, is a laugh out loud, heartwarming story about a twenty-five-year-old woman named Prudence Anderson.
Prudence hates her name, and prefers being called Pru. One night, while sitting in her apartment in Los Angeles watching television, a fire erupts in her building and she has to be evacuated. Her apartment is destroyed. She and her cat, Chuck, are suddenly homeless. Pru has two options. Stay with Ellen, a woman who lives in the same building, or go back home to her parents who are controlling. Pru doesn’t know Ellen, but she really doesn’t want to go back home.
This decision ushers in one adventure after another for Pru, who before the fire, never held a job, hadn’t been kissed, and never had friends.
Many people would consider Pru a loser, especially her parents who are constantly reminding their daughter that she’s a hopeless failure. When she decides to stay with Ellen, Pru is introduced to a crazy cast of characters. None of them know about Pru’s past and this is a blessing. They accept Pru at once and this acceptance gives Pru the chance to grow. She’s twenty-five, but all of her life experiences come from watching TV shows.
Pfeffer does an amazing job with Pru’s character. She’s so awkwardly shy, it can be painful for the reader, but at the same time it is absolutely hilarious. Pru’s internal dialogue will have many laughing out loud. It becomes clear right from the start that Pru, even though she’s twenty-five, is only a child, who can’t solve the simplest of problems.
Ellen pondered the problem. “Give me a few minutes. Would you feed the cats while I’m gone?”
“Sure.” I made my voice sound hearty and confident, while my mind contemplated the hugeness of the task.
The supporting cast is just as quirky as Pru, which is a delightful treat for the readers. Eccentric characters are easy to fall in love with and to cheer for. All of them are original and endearing.
The writing is spot on. Not only does the author move the story along nicely, there are so many layers, yet it doesn’t seem that way since it comes across as a simple story. This shows how talented Anne Pfeffer really is. Simple writing is not an easy feat and many authors struggle to write this effortlessly.
It’s not just the characters and solid writing that makes Just Pru such a delight to read. It would have been easy to go overboard with Pru’s lack of social skills and to make a complete mockery of the woman. Yet, the author doesn’t take cheap shots at Pru. She handles Pru delicately and with the respect the young woman deserves, which created a loveable character that is also socially awkward, not the other way around. It will be hard to forget Pru after reading this book. She’s not a loser at all. Pru is a winner and I have a feeling she’ll win over many readers.