LUCKY STARS by Jane Heller


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Another be-careful-what-you-wish-for tale from the author of, among eight others, The Secret Ingredient (2002).

Budding actress Stacey Reiser wishes her mother would get a life already. She phones constantly to nag and whine, and doesn’t seem to have anything to think about but her darling daughter—who just moved from Cleveland to Los Angeles, partly to advance her career and partly to retreat from Mom. Helen calls whenever she feels the urge, and it’s not as if Stacey can just turn off her trusty Nokia. What if her agent was trying to reach her? Not that Hollywood’s begging for her services ever since film critic Jack Rawlins gave her a devastatingly bad review for her small role in a Jim Carrey comedy. Stacey’s demeaning salesclerk job at Cornucopia, a posh housewares boutique, will just have to pay the bills for now. Then—oh, no!—her mother decides to visit sunny California. Wonder of wonders, mom’s incessant complaining pays off when she vociferously objects to a bone in a can of Fin tuna and is offered a spot as the company’s spokeswoman. She’s suddenly sought after for character roles when the commercial airs nationwide. Everyone from Woody Allen to the producers of Sex and the City wants the feisty old lady—but Helen takes it all in stride. Until she meets Victor, a con man who woos older women by telling sob stories about his wealthy wife’s mysterious demise. Stacey is appalled, though Helen is charmed. Since her mother won’t believe that Victor is up to no good, Stacey must uncover the truth as she contends with an unexpected admirer of her own: critic Jack Rawlins, who’s immediately smitten when he meets her in person (and apologizes for being so nasty). Helen keeps pitching Fin in a tin as Stacey frets over her career and engages in rather obvious role reversal. How come her mother never picks up the phone when Stacey calls?

As fish stories go, this one flounders.

Pub Date: April 11th, 2003
ISBN: 0-312-28848-4
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2003


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