Bookworm: 'Ada's Rules' by Alice Randall

Nobody likes to be a loser, but sometimes you wish you were one.


You’d like to lose the chubby cheeks, the wiggle in your middle, take a few pounds of junk from your trunk and that ain’t all. But it’s easy to make promises and hard to make weight.

In this case, losers always win. You just wish you were one of them.

Ada Howard wanted to lose weight, too, but being healthier was only one of the reasons why. In the new novel, Ada’s Rules by Alice Randall, Ada had to lose her suspicions first.

Ada was a daughter, mother, director at KidPlay, Preach’s wife and head bookkeeper for Full Love Baptist Tabernacle in Nashville, Tenn. Her hands were full and so was her head, so it was no surprise that the pounds crept to her thighs and chest before she really noticed.

But what made her finally see herself was an envelope that came in the mail.

It was class reunion time and Matt Mason – her first real love – had written a personal note on her invitation. It thrilled Ada to her toes just thinking of doing something with him that she hadn’t done back in the day. He’d wanted her then and she’d said no, but she wouldn’t let another chance pass her by.

Yes, Ada was Full Love’s first lady, but that didn’t change the fact that her husband, Lucius – whom everybody called “Preach” and some ladies called “Lucious” – had been steppin’ out on Ada. She had no proof, but with his last-minute meetings, emergency calls and disappearing acts, Ada didn’t need any.

She wanted Preach but he didn’t want her.

There was no way she’d meet up with Matt carrying 220 pounds. She wasn’t about to put flab between her and a one-time fling. She needed to lose weight, so Ada went on a diet.

It was easy to change things at the church’s daycare; kids love fruit. Her
elderly parents ate whatever she cooked. She learned to exercise, eat right and to trust her body. She was ready for a New Ada, but first, she needed to do a little housekeeping.

She needed to find out who her husband was cheating on her with.

When I first started reading, my first two thoughts were “Huh?” and “What?” The story’s introduction didn’t make any sense to me so – I’ll admit it – I skipped it.

Good thing I did.

Once you get into the meat of this novel, Ada’s Rules is pretty good. Randall gives her main character a sassy vulnerability that makes her feel like a good friend, like someone you’d want to exercise with. Sometimes the story felt preachy to me, but the presence of such a strong, perfectly flawed character made it okay.

If you’re dieting, you’ll find sympathy here. If you’re already a skinny-minnie, you know that novels are fat-free, so bite into a copy of Ada’s Rules. It’s a book you’ll lose yourself in.