BAD TIMING by Betsy Berne


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Another bright young New Yorker looks for love in all the wrong places.

Newcomer Berne has made her narrator heroine in her own image. Like Berne, she’s a Manhattan artist who regularly works as a freelance writer for all the best magazines. But all her life she’s been cursed by bad timing, arriving everywhere far too early for comfort (she’s always the only person at the first hour of Deejay Night each week). Now, for a change, her lateness is a problem: She’s convinced she’s pregnant after a one-night stand with black jazz club owner Joseph Pendleton, and she’s absolutely right. Even though he’s gotten their relationship off to a fast, trusting start by accidentally leaving his credit card behind in her apartment, Joseph, with one wife in the wings and another in the history books, and children on both sides of the Atlantic—one very much a part of his life—isn’t exactly prime husband material; he’s not even a very promising abortion-clinic escort. But in his maddening alternation between busy petulance and growling affection—at least on the rare occasions when the nameless heroine manages to keep him on the phone for more than five minutes at a stretch—he’s ten times more vital than any of the sitcom types who compete for attention in her world. These background figures barely register, not because they depart from their types (overbearing mother, ubiquitous gay escort, vacuously chatty girlfriend), but just because they’re smudged.

The tale is anchored in a real enough problem, even if it’s a familiar one to every romance fan: What to do with a man who won’t commit? Sadly, there’s nothing outside the orbit of the frustrated heroine’s attachment to her unsuitable male, not even the wit you’d expect of the artsy cast, to give this problem greater depth or resonance.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 2001
ISBN: 0-679-46318-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Villard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2000