Funny, clear-eyed look at female friendship from the prolific Heller (Lucky Stars, 2003, etc.).


What if your best friend turned into your worst enemy?

Is it legal to kill someone who has sex with your fiancé right before your wedding? Is it a little bit legal? Amy Sherman would like to know. She walked in on Tara Messer, naked and straddling an equally naked Stuart (admittedly an unimpressive sight—hunkalicious he is not) just as Tara shouted, “Take me home!” Four years later, Amy’s still sulking, while Tara and Stuart decorate a Mamaroneck mansion with tchotchkes bright and beautiful when not rolling around in the millions he makes running the family chain of gourmet grocery stores. Moving right along, Amy, a publicist for Lowry & Trammel, a New York publishing company, is not exactly thrilled with her new assignment: drumming up interest in Tara’s book of self-help advice for miserable women everywhere. Simply Beautiful is a shoo-in for the bestseller lists, even if it’s mostly recycled stuff swiped from others—hey, just like the way Tara swiped Stuart, Amy muses. In a fit of pique, Amy makes up an imaginary fiancé just so her life won’t seem utterly pathetic compared to that of her former friend. But then—yikes!—Tara, disgustingly gracious, invites her and the nonexistent fiancé to dinner, so she’s going to need a real one. One quick look at the self-appointed office studs and Amy’s ready to look elsewhere. How about mystery author Tony Stiles? He’s tall, sexy, and breathing—he’ll do. Segue to Tara’s POV and deep, dark secret: Stuart is a prize jerk and compulsive womanizer who’s mixed up with the Russian mob in a caviar-importing scheme. She’s far from happy and her life is far from perfect, but she’s determined to do something good for Amy. Another trip down the aisle awaits them both, but the roles—and the rules—are about to be reversed.

Funny, clear-eyed look at female friendship from the prolific Heller (Lucky Stars, 2003, etc.).

Pub Date: April 6, 2004

ISBN: 0-312-28849-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2004

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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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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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