The book's portrayal of Pandy feels both self-congratulatory and unintentionally unpleasant, the hostility toward male...

KILLING MONICA

Bushnell (One Fifth Avenue, 2008, etc.) is still playing her Sex and the City riffs in this self-referential sort-of satire about an author whose insanely popular fictional creation has taken over her life.

PJ “Pandy” Wallis created her fictional alter ego, Monica—think Carrie Bradshaw on steroids—in four bestselling novels and the movies that followed. The problem is that her newest book is not about Monica. It’s about Pandy’s ancestor Lady Wallis Wallis, who arrived in America in 1775—and, according to Pandy’s agent and suspiciously intimate confidant, Henry, historical fiction is a hard sell, so her editor has turned it down. As Pandy ponders whether to give in and write another Monica book, she relives her career. Along the way she became best friends with the actress who played Monica on screen, SondraBeth Schnowzer. During their days of wild, often drunken gal-pal escapades, they called themselves PandaBeth. Their friendship, which has an unexplored homoerotic undertone, ended when hot actor Doug Stone slept with both of them. Despite the gaggle of indistinguishable friends surrounding her now, Pandy still misses SondraBeth. The last time they spoke, SondraBeth warned Pandy that her husband-to-be, celebrity chef/restaurateur Jonny Balaga, was not a nice man. SondraBeth was right. Jonny went through Pandy’s money and cheated on her. What’s worse, he couldn’t swim, liked contemporary furniture, and didn’t properly appreciate the pedigree of Pandy’s Connecticut family estate. She’s now divorcing him, but the settlement requires her to fork over the $1 million advance on her newest book. Without a book contract there won’t be an advance, and Pandy worries what Jonny will go after instead—possibly the rights to Monica herself. But how separate is Monica’s identity from jet-setting Pandy’s? Or Bushnell's, readers may wonder?

The book's portrayal of Pandy feels both self-congratulatory and unintentionally unpleasant, the hostility toward male characters is virulent—the only good male in the book may not be one—and the sense of humor is nil.

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-446-55790-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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