A self-appointed ambassador for American women studies her single sisters around the world.
This debut novel from Sex and the City writer Tuccillo (co-author: He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys, 2004) stars NYC publicist Julie Jensen and a quartet of her obsessive friends. New age convert Serena contemplates a vow of celibacy while high-powered attorney Alice quits her job to husband-hunt full time. Meanwhile, maniacal divorcee Georgia is furious over her husband’s infidelity with a samba dancer while fragile wallflower Ruby channels her own depression into volunteer work euthanizing pets. During a girls’ night out, Julie experiences a moment of clarity: “My God, we are pathetic creatures. We are lawyers and publicists and businesswomen and mothers with blow-dried hair and lipstick, all just waiting for the sun of male attention to shine down upon us and make us feel alive again.” Armed with an emboldened sense of her own self-worth, she sets off on a world-spanning Grand Tour to investigate how single life translates across cultures. With stops in Paris, Rome, Rio, Bali and Beijing, the fictional tour (based largely upon the author’s real-life global research) features a plethora of rhetorical questions about men, women and missed connections, punctuated by charismatic cameos from an unrepentant French philanderer, a Brazilian porn star and a feisty Aussie self-help guru, among other rare specimens. Back in Manhattan, the ensemble’s neuroses rear their ugly heads as Georgia endangers her children over a boyfriend, Serena contemplates sex with her swami and Ruby stalks gay couples to father her child. When Tuccillo captures the surprising contradictions of relationships, as when Jensen discovers the unlikely happiness of an Indian woman’s arranged marriage, she scores. But Julie’s giggly sexcapades and her compatriot’s ill-advised misadventures, while passably entertaining, are about as psychologically nourishing as a half-hour of television. In fact, too much of the book is reminiscent of Sex and the City.
Sex in a bunch of different cities.