DOWN AT THE GOLDEN COIN

In Strickland’s novel, one person’s messiah is another’s juvenile delinquent.

Annie Mullard had it all—a great job as an airline pilot, a handsome and successful husband, three beautiful children and a big house in Chicago. When the recession hits, Annie loses her job and the comfortable life she has known begins to collapse; her husband is cheating on her, her kids don’t like her and the family’s financial situation is so tight that she has to wheel her clothing down to the Golden Coin Laundromat when the washing machine breaks. Annie is fed up, frustrated and seriously depressed. Although she prays for help, the sudden appearance of Violet at the Laundromat is not what she had in mind. Violet looks like a goth teenager and claims to be a messiah who can help Annie change her life though the power of positive thinking. Yet Annie is full of doubts, expressing understandable incredulity at Violet’s claims and scoffing at the idea that she can simply choose to be happy. Annie is a challenging case, and Violet spends nearly 23 chapters (set almost exclusively within the walls of the dingy Laundromat) trying to convince Annie that changing her thoughts and her attitude is the key to changing her life. As a teaching method, and further proof that she just may be a messiah, Violet beams Annie into past lives and even a possible future, forcing Annie to truly reflect on her attitude and her choices thus far. Slowly, Annie realizes that she just might possess the power to will her way to happiness. Strickland, in her second novel, effectively combines the earnestness of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life with the didactic voice of The Secret. With its timely, relatable story peppered liberally with pop-culture references and religious conviction, Strickland’s novel should strike a chord with readers who will relate to Annie’s struggles and search for a happier future. A lesson in faith and the power of positive thinking, all nestled within a satisfying story.

 

Pub Date: March 20, 2012

ISBN: 978-0981979458

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Kim Strickland-Sargent

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more