Kash’s #CBR5 Review #16: The Whole Package by Cynthia Ellingsen

I found this novel on my nightstand and had no idea how it had gotten there. On the inside cover it reads, “Hi Miss Amanda, To a fabulous young lady with a lovely Mama, I hope you have a blast reading… xoxo, Cynthia”. Then it hits me, my mom gave me this book a few years ago for my birthday, stuck inside of a purse. Raving about how she knows the author and what a sweetheart she is. My mom knows I don’t like chick lit, but having a signed copy is alright by me.

The Whole Package is a fun and sometimes funny story about three friends from high school who are near forty now. This is the kind of book where you can imagine the movie where at least one of the leads is played by Diane Keaton. Although she might be a little old, I totally see her in this. Anyway, each woman is different in your stereotypical ways. There is Cheryl, the driven and hard hitting marketing exec who sweeps the boys in the boardroom, the racquet ball court, and into her bedroom. She’s like Elizabeth Perkins in Big. And yes she has sex with a younger man. Then there’s Doris, who was once a soccer star. She got married young and swept up into the homemaker role. She’s a bad cook with a Xanax habit and an asshole of a daughter. Also, her husband is a pansy. Lastly is Jackie, the artist. She married an older man and after his death she squandered millions living the high life in Paris. She has returned to the States since her money is gone and she has yet to hold down a job.

After an impromptu night out, the girls hatch a plan to start up a male version of Hooters. Or would it be a female version? Either way, they want to have a restaurant where scantily clad men serve you meals. The rest is pretty predictable.


People think it’s a stripclub, it gets out of hand, churches get pissed, and then basically everyone quits. Not the employees, the owners. Real mature ladies. So they revamp it based on the idea that women want more romance, and then conveniently it’s a huge hit and everyone wins. All of the ladies are reunited with the men they have been on and off with for the rest of the novel. Glitter rains from the ceiling. Hallelujah. Amen.

This isn’t a romance novel. There aren’t any steamy sex scenes filled with quivering members, but there are a few firm embraces and a plethora of seductive gazes. It’s very much chick lit. If you like it, you like it, if you don’t, then pass. For me it was something nice to read between the sometimes heavy and epic shit that I’ve been undertaking. I believe this is one of those things Cosmo calls a “beach read”.