A colorful story of personal growth that ripens in Rio.

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BORN IN RIO

In her debut, Martins offers the warm story of a woman’s return to the homeland she left as a child.

Rita Ray doesn’t care for personal relationships. She’s single, 37 years old, with a lucrative banking career in Manhattan after a modest upbringing in Florida. Getting ahead in the business world is her sole focus, and she adopts a cold, distant manner to keep everyone, even family, at arm’s length. But when her mother, Maia, dies unexpectedly, Rita must confront the difficult past that closed her off emotionally. When Rita was 10, Maia suddenly uprooted her from their home in Brazil and brought her to the United States. Though Maia worked hard to create a better life for them both, their close relationship deteriorated because Maia refused to discuss their former life and the circumstances that forced her to flee from Brazil with Rita. After losing her mother without regaining the closeness they once shared, Rita plans a visit to Rio de Janeiro to learn more about her family and to reconnect with Maia’s dear friend Elisabete. In the beautiful, vibrant city, long-suppressed memories rush back to Rita—her heart thaws as she begins to appreciate the hard life Maia lived and the difficult choices she made with her daughter’s well-being in mind. Rita’s rediscovery of Brazil and her growing understanding of her mother provide the novel’s greatest pleasures, despite the sometimes melodramatic flashbacks. Immigration challenges and a compelling family dynamic would be absorbing enough without the over-the-top villainy of the men in their past. In Rio, Rita also meets Gabriel, a kind and handsome ex-lawyer turned health-food chef, who offers himself as her tour guide. The city opens up in its tropic splendor on the tours provided by Gabriel and Elisabete; its history and culture are enchanting. Throughout the often sensationalized plot, Rita—more than a tourist, but not a local—also explains the city’s lively customs, which flow naturally from the narration. Sun, fun and revelations in Rio provide Rita with a much-needed sense of place in the world her mother made for her.

A colorful story of personal growth that ripens in Rio.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1466441798

Page Count: 330

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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