Weisberger’s third effort (Everyone Worth Knowing, 2005, etc.), with the requisite girls’ nights out and disappointing men,...

CHASING HARRY WINSTON

Three single gals on the cusp of turning the big 3-0 shake up their romantic lives and deal with the consequences.

That Adriana, Emmy and Leigh have remained close since college is a testament to the strength of their bond, since personality-wise they could not be more different. Leigh is a neurotic book editor, Emmy is a financially struggling cooking aficionado and Adriana is a Brazilian knockout living off her rich parents in a swanky penthouse. After serial-monogamist Emmy is suddenly dumped by her longtime beau Duncan (for the personal trainer she hired for him), Adriana insists that the only way Emmy can get over him is by having torrid affairs with foreign men. Easy for the gorgeous Adriana to say. Emmy counters that if she can “slut out” then unrepentant man-eater Adriana has to, for once in her life, have a committed relationship. Let the games begin! Well, at least for Adriana and Emmy. Leigh, for her part, has a job she loves and a “perfect” boyfriend, hunky sportscaster Russell. Or is he perfect? When he proposes, she knows she should be happy, but she instead finds herself getting tangled up with bad boy novelist Jesse Chapman, who happens to be married. Meanwhile, Emmy, courtesy of her new job scouting restaurant locations, embarks on her erotic adventures, while Adriana nabs a slightly dorky big-time Hollywood director she struggles to remain faithful to. She also meets a magazine editor who, impressed by her effortless ways with men, gives Adriana her own advice column, “The Brazilian Girl’s Guide to Man Handling,” which sounds a lot like a sexed-up version of The Rules. The narrative is choppy (the book would have benefited from more editing), and the characters’ obsession with youth, as well as their displays of jealousy and cattiness, are tiring.

Weisberger’s third effort (Everyone Worth Knowing, 2005, etc.), with the requisite girls’ nights out and disappointing men, has some well-observed passages—and Adriana is a hoot—but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, many times.

Pub Date: June 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4165-9019-4

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2008

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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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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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