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Whimsical to the point of fluff, but kind of fun nonetheless: the story of how a ditzy, Tai Chi—practicing, failed art historian becomes a bigamist and a single mother. This time out, Trott (The Holy Man’s Journey, 1997, etc.) features Effie Crackalbee (nÇe Croy), whose willful edge in life gets her into trouble but whose charm always wins out in the end. On her honeymoon with Harvard associate professor Alan, Effie (a.k.a. Jane, her thesis-writing pseudonym) decides to flee her one-month marriage once she realizes that the novel that Alan has promised to write is all empty talk. She gets as far as the Harvard Club, where she goes to use the bathroom, and ends up getting hired as an au pair to the recently divorced Gleb Saltonstall’s two kids. Of course, it turns out that Gleb’s summer manse on the Massachusetts coast is just across town from the beach house where she and Alan were honeymooning. Gleb and son Danny soon fall for Effie, who becomes pregnant (by whom she’s not sure) before deciding to return to Alan part-time. And so it goes in a piling-on of complications (little Danny falls into a coma after getting hit by a car, which triggers Gleb’s proposal and Effie’s well-intentioned acceptance) and family coincidences (Gleb’s sister serves as the ruthless agent to Alan’s mother, a ghostwriter who writes her son’s novel and, as we finally learn, the very novel we’re reading). Through it all, Trott’s deadpan knack for inserting reality into the cotton candy (Danny’s coma, Alan’s insistence on an abortion, the indifference of both “fathers” to their baby) gives a welcome astringency to an otherwise cloying tale. An exuberant, weightless New Age beach book, perfect for fans of Holly Golightly and other free spirits; for more serious readers, an ice-cream headache. (Author tour)

Pub Date: July 17th, 1998
ISBN: 0-385-49234-0
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998


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