From an American-born actress now living in Germany, a first novel that offers wry and refreshingly upbeat reminiscences of life in the single lane--both here and in Berlin. Hostess of a local cable talk show, Breakfasts at Becky's, fortyish Becky Bernstein has just been dumped by yet another inappropriate boyfriend. Now surveying her apartment and her figure (her boyfriend's last words: ``It wouldn't hurt you to lose a few pounds around the hips''), she decides that it may be time to clean up her act. She'll clear out the 20 years of accumulated stuff in her apartment and also lose weight. As she does both, Becky mingles memories of her childhood, youth, and lovers in with a narrative of her present efforts to change. A New Yorker, and the daughter of an intermittently successful salesman father, she's a city girl who loves to museum hop and shop and is unfazed by dirty subways and weirdos. She admits to finding the Germans with their orderliness, respect for authority, and verb-impaired language deeply strange. She had first come to Berlin after college, dragged along in the wake of JÅrgen, an architect she met and fell in love with at the Museum of Modern Art. Once in Berlin, she lived in a leftist commune with JÅrgen and, when their affair ended, moved into the apartment she's occupied since. Between card games with neighbors, meetings with friends, and the celebration attendant on the news that a story of hers has been accepted by Mademoiselle, Becky recalls old friendships and her ebullient family. And while she and her apartment are in the process of shedding their excess, she unexpectedly meets her true love. Recollections that at times seem forced or superfluous, but the Becky who has them is so full of life and energy, so utterly in your face, that much can be forgiven. A lively and entertaining debut.