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by Marian Keyes

Pub Date: April 27th, 2004
ISBN: 0-06-052051-5
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

More plucky Irishwomen from Keyes (Sushi for Beginners, 2003, etc.).

Events planner Gemma Hogan is astonished to hear that her dear old dad, a chocolate-company middle manager, has left her graying, comfy mam for a much younger, hard-faced floozy. Cherished dreams are shattered, along with a few china shepherdesses. Will her anguished mother ever get out of bed or that damned tufted bathrobe? Fancy a tranquilizer? How about a sleeping pill? Good thing that nice pharmacist stays open so late—oh, gosh, he thinks the pills are for Gemma! What’s a chick-lit heroine to do? Step back and let the plot segue to hard-driving literary agent Jojo Harvey, who wangles a million-pound advance for a first novel written by an Englishman who lived as a woman in war-torn Afghanistan. (Ha-ha.) In a nod to American readers, Jojo is said to have worked for the NYPD for three years. Gee, so that’s why her nickname is “Yank,” even though she talks just like Bridget Jones. Jojo, a dynamo at the office, is a doormat for a middle-aged married stud who won’t leave his wife and kids and is always breaking their dates (big surprise). Jojo is also the agent of Lily Wright, an anemic blond who stole Gemma’s man, had a baby with him, and wrote an idiotic bestseller about a white witch who fixes unhappy lives. It’s not fair, fumes Gemma. But our girl fights back, landing a book contract of her own for a much higher advance than Lily’s—though the book tanks—and finding true love at last. Will her foolish dad slink home and comfort her wailing mam?

Bloated, meandering plot, with lots of dull talk about the publishing business. Even the author’s wonderfully eccentric sense of humor can’t save this one.