A captivating tale about growing up best suited for nostalgic members of Generation X.

Good-Bye Def Leppard

I'LL MISS THOSE JEANS

In Kramer’s debut novel, a middle-aged mother remembers falling into a complicated romance in the early 1990s.

Amy Gaer is a harried working mother. After a busy day, she listens to her young daughter practice for a music recital and recalls her own youth. Thus begins a flashback to Amy’s early 20s that lasts for nearly the rest of the novel. Readers meet young Amy as she completes what might be her final year at the University of Iowa. She’s trying to determine what to do with her life: follow her dream of a musical career or choose something more financially responsible, such as law or business, as her parents hope she will. She returns to her childhood home in rural Iowa for the summer, where she begins an internship at a local bank and meets Nick Klein, who’s in the process of getting divorced—and who quickly gets under her skin. As soon as his divorce is final, the two begin to date, but Nick hopes to keep things casual so that Amy won’t feel reluctant to leave town in pursuit of professional goals. The only thing Amy knows for sure is that meeting Nick has made her choices much more complicated. As she tries to map out her future, she must navigate lingering, complex relationships from her past as well as surprisingly large doses of sexism in the workplace. All the while, Kramer keeps the music of the late 1980s and early ’90s (such as Guns N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” and Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow”) playing in the story’s background—so much so that some readers may feel compelled to sing along. As the author transports these readers to the grunge era, she also explores difficult issues surrounding social inequality, infidelity, and, especially, coming-of-age. Meanwhile, the romantic suspense and social calamities that pepper the narrative keep it moving along at an engaging pace. As Amy struggles to find the wisdom and maturity she needs to sort out her future, readers will find themselves in her cheering section. 

A captivating tale about growing up best suited for nostalgic members of Generation X.

Pub Date: April 25, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-4348-4832-1

Page Count: 312

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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