Despite his sanctimonious protestations, Curtis hasn’t learned his lesson, and future fracases, necessitating future books,...

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THE REVEREND'S WIFE

Another episode in the soap opera otherwise known as the life of Reverend Curtis Black.

Chicago mega-church pastor and celebrity author Reverend Black has another self-engineered debacle on his hands. Although in the last installment he and wife Charlotte had cheated on each other, Curtis is unable to forgive her. Charlotte, who has atoned in myriad ways, including transforming her resentment of Curtis’ love child Curtina into profound motherly love, goes into a tailspin when Curtis moves into a guest bedroom and coldly informs her that he will file for divorce the minute their son Matthew has graduated from high school and is safely Harvard-bound. At her favorite suburban sports bar, she has a few too many and returns home schnockered. She pours out her frustrations to Curtis, who only grows more indifferent the more she drinks. Increasingly, he’s been finding solace in daily telephone conversations with Sharon, a new church member who moved (she says) to Chicago to be near him and offers him (he thinks) platonic friendship. When Charlotte’s behavior grows more erratic (she embarrasses the straight-laced Matthew by impugning his girlfriend’s virtue as the youngsters are posing for prom photos, and then stays out late at the sports bar where she’s seen chatting up another man), Curtis visits Sharon and almost sleeps with her before his religious scruples kick in. Charlotte confronts Curtis with cell phone evidence of his flirtation, and the tide turns. Curtis actually warms to her, and reconciliation is in the air. He’s happy Charlotte decided to surprise him at an event he’s keynoting in Detroit, but when the couple discovers Sharon, scantily clad and lolling on Curtis’ hotel bed, it's back to square one. As a pastor, Curtis is a woeful role model—he behaves ethically only when it suits him and is quicker to blame others than to accept the consequences of his own misdeeds.

Despite his sanctimonious protestations, Curtis hasn’t learned his lesson, and future fracases, necessitating future books, are inevitable.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-446-57247-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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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

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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

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