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    Review of FOLLOWING MY TOES by Laurel Osterkamp (see her website)

    PMI Books, April 2006

    Faith Emerson isn't very happy with her boyfriend, but when he breaks up with her, she's still devastated. When she learns who he left her for, she feels even worse. Finally, she decides to pull up her roots and move from Duluth to Minneapolis where, she hopes, she'll be able to find a new teaching job. Faith quickly runs into a cute auto repair guy, a friendly neighbor, and a nerdy frat-style boy. It might sound nice to have three guys around, semi-interested except one of them seems to be stalking her--or possibly stalking her weird roommate.

    Faith doesn't like it when her friends and family tell her she's self-absorbed, and she feels superior to her roommate who is run over by a 6 pound dog and has to quit her job due to the injuries, but the it turns out that the only hope she has for a teaching job is something lined up by the mechanic--whom she insults at just about every turn. Meanwhile, Faith's former number 2 and now number 1 friend has messed up her own relationship and Faith can't figure out how to put it back together.

    Did I mention being held hostage or Faith's psychic toe?

    Author Laurel Osterkamp manages a mostly entertaining story about a woman who is, sadly, every bit as self-absorbed and stuck on herself as her friends and family claim. Because FOLLOWING MY TOES is first person, we very much want to like Faith and cheer her on as she deals with heartbreak, possible new romance, and being stalked by a mysterious stranger. Liking her is hard, though. Her feelings of superiority and knowing what's best for others, while she's ruining her own life, are extremely realistic. They are also unsympathetic.

    Osterkamp kept me involved in the story, wondering how things were going to come out, whether my guess of the stalker's identity was correct (it was), and whether Faith could pull herself together and rise to a new level. I would have liked to see a bit more dimension in some of the characters (roommate Missy is a cartoon and new best-friend Carolyn is not especially sympathetic), but I still foud the story enjoyable.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 10/12/07

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