Rocco (The Hollywood Facelift, 1995) offers a kind of Sex and the City for the baby boomer generation in this highly amusing and surprisingly clever romantic comedy.
Suzanne Robins, an early morning traffic reporter in San Francisco, has a serious problem: She keeps imagining her own death. As she approaches 60, a monumental birthday, she begins to have terrible nightmares about her demise. When she seeks professional advice, her psychiatrist tells her to try planning her own funeral. Rather than focus on the morbid, Robins goes in another direction—she cuts her hair and starts caring about her makeup, clothing, fitness and overall style. With the help of her transgendered best friend, Jill (formerly Phil), Robins enters the latter part of her life with new optimism and a sense of self that she’d abandoned when her marriage ended, her daughter grew up and her life settled into a predictable routine. Rocco, a Sausalito, Calif.–based screenwriter, has a keen sense of dialogue, with fun, rapidly paced and detailed exchanges: “[Jill] scrutinizes each pair of my shoes. ‘These might be worth something, look at that heel! They’re borderline vintage.’…‘What if it comes B-A-C-K?’ I cry.” Each chapter features new twists, such as Robins trying online dating or considering cosmetic surgery. Rocco makes Robins’ tiny triumphs, like trying on a pair of Jimmy Choos, important to readers, and she has a sense of humor that’s affectionate yet tough on her characters. She also has a strong sense of how mature women think and communicates Robins’ thoughts so well that readers will likely feel as if Robins is a confidante. Although the novel’s cover art is subpar, the words inside are sassy, fresh and full of vitality.
An engaging novel about one woman’s journey from faded to fabulous.