A novel that reads like rubbernecking or a junk-food binge, compelling a horrified fascination and bleak laughter in the...

JILLIAN

In this wickedly disaffected, sometimes-funny debut novel, Butler creates a story of two exceedingly unhappy women, both sliding into a downward spiral shaped by everyday misery and petty hatreds.

Megan is a young woman trapped in a life she finds unbearably boring by her own discontent and inability to hoist herself out of a rut of mental squalor. A medical records technician in a gastroenterology office, she fills her spare time by drinking a ridiculous amount of beer, hating everyone she knows and idly contemplating suicide: “Everything about her life was so much the same from day to day that it almost didn’t exist.” The only thing she does with any enthusiasm is indulge in a particularly obsessive hatred for her co-worker Jillian, whose brittle and overblown optimism drives Megan crazy. Jillian is the office manager, a single mother, and beneath her cheery facade, just as unhappy, unsatisfied, and unpleasant as Megan. The novel consists of a series of ordinary events—awkward parties, kitchen conversations, drunken missteps, the acquisition of a dog—and its most striking feature is the way it digs into this small canvas of revulsion, bringing up recognizable portraits of our least generous, most unlikable urges. There is very little hope in this story but a great deal of outrageous, amusingly pointed meanness. Though it suffers from an oddly studious use of vulgarity, the novel has a degree of compelling, train-wreck allure. It offers up its characters for hatred and ridicule with such energy, obsessive detail and hopelessness that the reader can’t help but read on, through exasperating flinches of sympathy and recognition.

A novel that reads like rubbernecking or a junk-food binge, compelling a horrified fascination and bleak laughter in the face of outrageously painted everyday sadness.

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-940430-29-4

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Curbside Splendor

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more