by Sue Margolis ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 16, 2001
Pleasant enough in a punny way, but awfully British. Lots of sex to compensate for the lame jokes.
Can a divorced stand-up comedienne find happiness with a washing-machine repairman?
Sure, says the author of Neurotica (1999)—particularly when her dentist fiancé is away in South Africa. Rachel Katz isn’t positive she wants to marry Adam anyway, even if her mum is busily planning the wedding. Oh, well. Adam makes a good living even if he is deadly dull and prone to nosebleeds; and, despite her dreams of glory, Rachel isn’t exactly setting audiences on fire at the Anarchist Bathmat comedy club. Shelley, her best friend and neighbor, a health-food nut with gigantic bosoms, lends a sympathetic ear. Freewheeling Shelley isn’t sure Rachel should marry Adam, either. Rachel’s ten-year-old son Sam is indifferent, but he doesn’t really think about anything except his growing collection of Barbra Streisand records. Is it possible he’s gay like his father? Rachel frets over this until Matt Clapton, a hunky washing-machine repairman, becomes a distraction. He thinks she’s hysterically funny, and he’s happy to be her (cough, cough) handyman. Rachel feels a few pangs of guilt for cheating, but she reasons that it doesn’t matter since she and Adam hardly ever had sex. She’s got other things to worry about: her mum is having a bikini wax and shopping for revealing underwear. What on earth? Then she catches her parents doing something wild with another elderly couple! The truth comes out: Mum and Dad are baring their wrinkly bottoms for a how-to sex video for seniors. Oh, well. No big deal compared to the latest news flash from South Africa: Adam’s dumping her for an anorexic dental hygienist who starches her underwear. Rachel can’t worry about that now: she’s getting ready for a big comedy competition, which she just might win if an Aussie upstart doesn’t steal all her material. Life goes on, and so do the silly contrivances.Pleasant enough in a punny way, but awfully British. Lots of sex to compensate for the lame jokes.
Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2001
Page Count: 288
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
National Book Award Finalist
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
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by Harper Lee ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 11, 1960
A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.
Pub Date: July 11, 1960
Page Count: 323
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960
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