HIGH MAINTENANCE by Jennifer Belle


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Love and a nice apartment are hard to find in Manhattan, says this second novel by the author of Going Down (1996).

The daughter of a rich fashion designer, Liv Kellerman never had to work a day in her life—until she left her lawyer husband when he started taking Prozac and stopped having sex with her. Problem is, he owns their apartment. Liv takes a job reading to a blind judge, but she can’t afford the cockroach-infested MacDougal Street walkup she’s found on a salary of eight dollars an hour. So she signs on as a real-estate trainee in a seedy office run by a mannish woman named Dale and is soon earning commissions on various weird lofts and living spaces. Wearying of Dale’s out-loud fantasizing about the young girls she lusts after, Liv moves on to a much more upscale firm, raking in bigger commissions and learning that rich clients can be really strange. (One couple asks whether she’d be interested in donating an egg or two to provide a sibling for their precious tot. She demurs.) Her affair with Andrew Lugar, an eccentric architect who likes to bite during sex, is going nowhere; ditto her divorce. After reading Andrew’s diary, annoyed by his loony, egomaniacal descriptions of their slightly warped romance and by the realization that he never intended to leave his girlfriend, Liv contemplates shooting the jerk. She settles for dumping him after he chomps off her earlobe. Nothing ever comes up roses for this contemporary urban heroine: her soon-to-be-ex is selling their old apartment, she has to show it to buyers who criticize the décor . . . and so on. All this convoluted action would be a lot more compelling, however, if Liz had even half the sexiness and spunk of Bennington Bloom, Going Down’s call-girl heroine

A meandering story, though funny enough in a blasé way, featuring sly asides on everything from the perfidy of men to the purpose of Thanksgiving turkeys.

Pub Date: May 7th, 2001
ISBN: 1-57322-185-6
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Riverhead
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2001


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