The glittery high-end fantasy is delivered with enough humor to leaven the silliness, making this a feel-good read.

MRS. PERFECT

When the exclusive life of blonde and beautiful Taylor Young starts to fall apart, her real character, forged by a tough childhood, comes out.

Taylor, her husband Nathan and their three perfect daughters occupy an upper-crust world. Among the perks for Taylor: lavish fashions (including $200 bras), sunny vacations and a Finnish nanny. But the pressure to stay on top in exclusive Bellevue, Wash., is almost too much. Between Taylor’s exercise classes, manicures, pedicures and a volunteer schedule that rivals a full-time job, she barely has a moment to relax poolside with a gin and tonic, not to mention keep up with her competitive book group. So when Nathan starts acting odd, disappearing for days on a business trip, she begins to worry. Could her perfect marriage, which rescued her from a working-class background, be going the way of her friend Lucy’s, broken up by an affair? The truth, when it comes out, is worse. Her billionaire husband has been fired, and he has been hiding the fact, letting compulsive-shopper Taylor ring up bills they can no longer afford. When Nathan attempts to move the family to Omaha, where he has found a job, Taylor refuses to go, trying to keep her place in a world she can no longer afford. Ultimately, she must choose between her family and her luxuries. The witty first-person narration keeps things lively in Potter’s latest (Odd Mom Out, 2007, etc.). Taylor’s neurotic fussiness provides both vicarious thrills and laughs before Taylor moves on to self awareness and a new kind of empowerment.

The glittery high-end fantasy is delivered with enough humor to leaven the silliness, making this a feel-good read.

Pub Date: May 5, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-446-69924-2

Page Count: 420

Publisher: 5 Spot/Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2008

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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

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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