LOSING CLEMENTINE

A successful, bipolar artist decides to live it up for 30 days before ending her own life.

Off her meds and manic (but certain she will never get better), Clementine Pritchard feels a sense of calm and purpose once she finally commits to killing herself. A well-known multimedia artist, Clementine suffers from debilitating, explosive mood swings not unlike the ones she witnessed her own mother going through during her childhood. Those ended badly when her mother shot herself and her younger sister Ramona, leaving Clementine to live with an aunt. Hoping to never leave her own loved ones to such a fate, she scores some animal tranquilizer in Tijuana and tells people she has inoperable brain cancer. Her inner circle, including her devoted assistant Jenny and still-smitten ex-husband Richard, try their best to help her, but her mind is made up. With the clock ticking, she makes good use of her time. She sleeps with both Richard (great) and her former shrink Miles (bad), poses nude for a rival artist and eats her way through the best ethnic takeout food L.A. has to offer. She works, too, hitting her creative stride and producing daring and dark new pieces. She also tries to get her affairs in order and find a home for her cat Chuckles, a male Persian almost as ornery as Clementine herself. Complications ensue, though, when she tracks down her long-lost father in Kansas City. Her hopes for healing and closure are turned on their head when a family drama gives her a chance, for a change, to be a caregiver rather than the one needing care. But is it enough to change her course? With her razor wit and over-it-all candor, Clementine makes for a fascinating companion, and Ream manages to craft an engaging and impressive debut without soft-pedaling how very sick Clementine is. You’ll sure miss her when she’s gone.

 

Pub Date: March 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-209363-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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