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``Becoming involved in a relationship is a lot like being lured into a Hare Krishna cult''—so begins this long narrative necklace of good-natured one-liners posing as a novel of twentysomething love. Sasha Schwartz is a wisecracking young N.Y.C. ad-agency ``creative director'' in charge of writing toothpaste and paper- towel commercials. She spends her free time (i.e., most of the time her boss isn't watching her) talking on the phone with girlfriends Viv and Frannie and writing jingles about her ex-boyfriend, Bryce, who has recently left her—she suspects for a man named Glen, whose letters she's found in the apartment she and Bryce shared. (``Girl meets boy/Then boy meets boy/That's the story line these days/Oh, it's no joy/To love a gay,'' goes a typical ditty.) That's the plot; and the only event in the next 250 pages that could possibly be seen as an advancement of that plot is when Sasha runs into Bryce in a bar and is introduced to Glen, who is blond-haired, miniskirted, voluptuous, and very much a female. (Oh, well—so much Sasha's previous obsessional worries about AIDS.) Otherwise, the book is a jumble of Bob Dylan quotes mixed in with bathetic reminiscences of Sasha's childhood, Viv's phone harangues, rejected ad copy, rash jokes, secondary characters' glowing assessments of Sasha's talents, character, and looks, one whole chapter devoted to numbers (``461, 462, 463...'') representing Sasha counting sheep as she tries to forget Bryce and sleep—and three or four authentically funny moments, all of which take place in the presence of Sasha's personable fellow ad-agency worker Jerry, known as ``Jerriatrics.'' A pinch of promise in a sophomoric brew—and hardly the work of the ``Nora Ephron of the MTV generation,'' as the publisher's promo copy claims.

Pub Date: July 26, 1993

ISBN: 0-312-09465-5

Page Count: 256

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1993

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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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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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