Can a young Manhattan chef find happiness?
Ellie Manelli, known as Lemon, pretty much has it all. After several years, boyfriend Eddie still adores her. Bonus: he still likes to indulge in hot rooftop sex and cold champagne. Her new East Village restaurant, also named Lemon, is doing well, and she loves her work, reveling in the hectic pace of a professional kitchen and the long hours she puts in, ably assisted by an ethnically diverse staff. Wonder of wonders, though, she suddenly became the new It Girl of New York restaurants and still hasn’t quite recovered. Her Italian-American relatives thought cooking would be just a phase—they expected her to marry some hairy goomba from Brooklyn and have 27 kids. But no. Eddie is as preppy as they come, the Princeton-educated son of a textile magnate from Georgia. He has popped the question, though—several times. Unsure of herself, despite her successes, Lemon hasn’t said yes. Perhaps being orphaned at an early age has made her wary: her parents, described as beatniks (even though she’s far too young for that to be true), dumped her on willing relatives, ran off together, and were killed in an accident. So, okay, Lemon has commitment issues but nothing too serious. Uh, remember that careless rooftop sex? Lemon is pregnant. And suddenly nauseous. And sleepy. And feeling miserable and happy at the same time. At least Eddie is thrilled. But will his straitlaced family be? As soon as the Italian aunts know, they won’t leave Lemon alone for a minute. Should she marry Eddie? Does he still want to marry her? All this fretting is interspersed with inner monologues on the subject of pregnancy, addressed to the fetus (she’s sure it’s a girl). Unfortunately, Lemon suffers a miscarriage, described in bloody detail, that sends her into an emotional tailspin.
A second coming-of-ager from Swain (Eliot’s Banana , 2003) but, for obvious reasons, this heartfelt tale isn’t exactly entertaining.