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THE GODDESSES OF KITCHEN AVENUE by Barbara Samuel

THE GODDESSES OF KITCHEN AVENUE

By Barbara Samuel

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-345-44569-4
Publisher: Ballantine

Grab bag of poetry, goddess lore, e-mails—and oh, yeah, a story.

Trudy Marino is 46, coping with loneliness and self-doubt when her husband Rick leaves her for a younger woman. Good thing Trudy has a rainbow assortment of politically correct, culturally inclusive friends of all ages and social classes to see her through! In alternating POVs, meet Jade, a tough-talking, kick-boxing African-American social worker with a heart of gold; her grandmother Roberta, whose husband of 62 years has just died; Shanelle, a white-trash girl and proud of it, married to a non-macho Latino who supports her dreams of making it as a writer; and Angel, the tawny, brawny photographer from Spain who just moved in next door to Trudy. When not sipping Sleepytime tea and munching bowls of Nutrigrain cereal and bathing in organic lavender oil by candlelight and listening to Spanish guitar music and reading the poetry of García Lorca, Trudy thinks it all over. Is she ready to explore her middle-aged, wild-woman sensuality at last, even though she pines for Rick and his graying goatee? Gee, Angel is so young. Why does he want to photograph her? Maybe she’d better ask a goddess: she changes deities once a month, creating new household altars for the likes of Kali, the great destroyer; Yemaya, the African goddess of the rivers and oceans; Hecate, the gray crone, etc. Maybe they know why this handsome Angel was, ahem, sent to her. But he speaks for himself in a way that captivates our bashful heroine: “I am here in this neighborhood because when I came looking for a house to rent, I saw a very beautiful woman standing in that beautiful light, and I wanted to take her picture very, very much. So I must seem young and foolish to you, but I am sincere.” Guess what happens next.

Well-meaning but weak and often silly.