Twin Cities torpor.
If you haven’t had the pleasure, meet Shannon Olson (a fictional heroine who bears her author’s name), her friends and family, including her wisecracking mom Flo in the sequel to Welcome To My Planet (2000). Nothing much has happened since Welcome, and nothing much is happening now. Shannon would like to change that—someday. Maybe it’s time to start living her own life, instead of hanging out with her mom, doing laundry and trading verbal jabs. And she’d like to have a baby, if marriage ever becomes more than a remote possibility. Heck, she can’t even get a date at the age of 33. Sex? Forget it. Watching TV and contemplating the piles of old magazines in her cramped apartment is about it in the way of late-night recreation. She goes out now and then, even experiences a flicker or two of interest in this guy or that, but everything fizzles out almost instantly. Hey, maybe her old friend Adam from St. Olaf College is the one . . . but she hates the way he grabs her ass. Basically, he annoys her. Almost everything annoys her. And she can’t make up her mind about anything—in fact, as everyone keeps pointing out, she is paralyzed by indecision. Despite flashes of sly and often brilliant humor, about three-quarters of the story is devoted to glum, introspective nitpicking and endless second-guessing from its depressed heroine and a chorus made up of her group therapy counselor, the group itself, a kindly shrink, and a few pals and boyfriends with equally lackluster lives. Even Adam’s eventual death from melanoma—and a tacked-on happy ending—don’t seem to mean much.
Olson’s remarkable talent for deft comic writing doesn’t make up for a go-nowhere plot.