Amiable diversion, more Freaky Friday than Dorian Gray.


Wealthy middle-aged gay man depressed over his lost youth takes supernatural measures to swap bodies with a penniless young stud.

Still smarting over the breakup with his longtime lover Harry, 53-year-old Jack Ackerly is ready for a change. A cultured man of leisure living very comfortably off the proceeds of the sale of his advertising agency, Jack yearns for the carefree carnal existence he denied himself by not coming out until he was 30. In his desire to turn back the clock he seeks out Francesca LaBrash, a chatty witch who agrees to help him transfer his consciousness—if he can find another body willing to trade identities with him. Enter Corey, a 26-year-old sometime-waiter who Jack accidentally hits with his car. Corey, while undeniably hot, leads a life of dissipation, masking his low self-esteem and fear for his future in an endless stream of anonymous hook-ups. About to be evicted from his squalid apartment, he is exactly what Jack is looking for. Offering Corey his millions in exchange for his body, Jack and the financially desperate younger man seal the deal and Francesca works her magic. Needless to say, both men get far more than they bargained for when assuming each other’s lives. In Corey’s hard body, Jack prowls Chicago’s gay underworld making up for lost time with a wide array of one-night stands. Jack-as-Corey then sets his sites on seducing Harry, and bonds with Corey’s close friend Frida, a self-destructive young woman who needs a little tough love to turn her life around. Meanwhile, after getting past his dismay over his new body’s comparative decrepitude, Corey-as-Jack realizes that he has a chance—using Jack’s money and connections—to actually help people. Jack then starts to feel guilty for taking Corey’s youth, and rushes to reverse the spell just as Corey is struck down by a dance-related emergency in a disco. Rodi’s latest spoof (Bitch Goddess, 2001, etc.) at times reads like a commentary on the youth-centric superficiality of gay culture, but it is careful to leave a sweet aftertaste.

Amiable diversion, more Freaky Friday than Dorian Gray.

Pub Date: June 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-07582-1533-8

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Kensington

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2007

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...


Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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