A story of one woman’s journey toward the life she deserves, with plenty of satisfying and surprising twists along the way.

AND THEN THERE WAS ME

A woman tries to keep herself together while struggling with an unfaithful husband and an eating disorder.

From the outside looking in, Bea’s life seems perfect. She lives in an upscale New Jersey suburb with a great school district for her two children. Her husband, Lonnie, is handsome and a good provider. She seems to have everything—but Bea, with her Dominican and African-American heritage, always feels like an outsider in her mostly white suburb. She’s also hiding some secrets. Her husband is a serial cheater, and he has a son with a former mistress in Miami. Bea struggles with bulimia, and her disease is triggered by Lonnie’s repeated infidelity. Bea is pregnant, acting as a surrogate for Lonnie’s cousin, so she tries to avoid binging and purging for the sake of the baby, but as her marriage crumbles she finds it harder to resist. Bea feels pressure to keep everything together for her family, but how long can she deal with her husband’s cheating? Through it all, Bea leans on her best friend, Awilda—but when Awilda betrays her, Bea is forced to make some big changes. Bea faces so many challenges at the same time—bulimia, infidelity, broken friendships, and surrogacy—that it can be hard to keep track of the plot. However, readers will relate to Bea’s response to adversity and cheer as she fights against her self-harming behavior.

A story of one woman’s journey toward the life she deserves, with plenty of satisfying and surprising twists along the way.

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-07416-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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

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A LITTLE LIFE

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. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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