A heartwarming story that reminds us of the pure joy of believing in love.

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I ALMOST FORGOT ABOUT YOU

When 54-year-old doctor Georgia Young learns that her college crush Raymond Strawberry has died unexpectedly, she decides to hunt up all the men she's loved in her life and tell them what they meant to her.

Georgia’s plan quickly becomes bigger than lost love: along the way she decides to quit her job as a successful optometrist, sell her house, and travel Canada by train to try to discover just what it is she's always wanted to do with her life. For Georgia, the trip will be "a long, meditative prayer” that “will help me not to worry about the end of my life but encourage me.” But the world is not always respectful of our dreams; and Georgia’s children and business partner—not to mention new and old loves—crash-land in her life with turmoil and drama of their own, forcing Georgia’s best laid plans to go awry. "We all take a path we thought we wanted to take, and then we find out there are other paths we can still explore," one of Georgia’s long-lost former lovers tells her toward the end of the novel. For Georgia, this means coming full circle to recognize what she has overlooked and realize the extent of her present happiness and talents. While some readers may stumble over Georgia’s attitude toward her children and grandchildren—ambivalence verging on coolness—as well as some key plot gaps and a somewhat uneven narrative that meanders as much as Georgia’s uncertain quest for something different, fans of McMillan (Who Asked You, 2013, etc.) will welcome this new addition to her oeuvre. Here is McMillan’s trademark style in full, feisty effect: strong, complicated female characters, energetic prose, and an entertaining, seductive narrative.

A heartwarming story that reminds us of the pure joy of believing in love.

Pub Date: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-101-90257-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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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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