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DUMPING BILLY

Pleasant enough, but strictly for fans.

The late Goldsmith (The First Wives Club, 1992, etc.) sticks to the bestselling formula of women looking for love in her final book: sadly, a predictable, clichéd, and caricature-ridden portrait of a Manhattan career woman entangled by the outer-borough roots she tries desperately to leave behind.

Kate Jameson is nothing if not a snob. Raised in Brooklyn by a distant, alcoholic father, she’s moved beyond her childhood buddies Bina, Bev, Barbie, and Bunny—known collectively as “The Bitches of Bushwick”—and their single-minded desire for husband, children, and a blue velvet tufted couch. An Ivy League–educated therapist in a tony New York City school, our heroine lives in hip Chelsea, shops in chic Soho, and has the requisite gay man as her best friend and confidant. “It was true she described every tremor to Elliot and like a geophysicist, he had predicted when the earthquakes were coming to rock her world.” Kate manages to keep her old neighborhood girlfriends far away from her de rigueur Manhattan existence, until Bina Horowitz, who works in her podiatrist father’s office, turns up broken-hearted and hysterical when Jack, her fiancé of six years, decides despite the engagement ring bulging in his shirt pocket that he wants to “explore his singleness.” The plot twists and turns with the scheme to get Jack back. The plan? Brice, Elliot’s fashion-savvy partner, will gussy up Bina, who will then ensnare the eponymous and infamous Billy Nolan, owner of the Barber Bar in Brooklyn and “a living embodiment of male beauty.” Elliot, brilliant mathematician that he is, has uncovered statistics proving that every woman who dates Billy Nolan inevitably gets dumped and goes on to marry her soulmate. As Elliot and Brice invade the world Kate worked so hard to hide, she’s forced to reassess her personal relationships and uptight attitudes. All this leads, of course, to true love and happiness.

Pleasant enough, but strictly for fans.

Pub Date: May 12, 2004

ISBN: 0-446-53110-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2004

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

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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