TRYIN' TO SLEEP IN THE BED YOU MADE

A sprawling, melodramatic debut ``by and about best friends'' that has enough plot twists and surprises for a season of soap operas. And, for all its attention to intraracial conflict and sexual politics, it eventually boils down to one affirmative, ``You go, girl.'' As their fortunes rise and fall in the world, the two unlikely best friends from the St. Albans section of Queens manage to take on the best qualities of each other. Patricia Reid is the hard case: An unwanted child of an alcoholic mother, she early on learns to be tough and self-sufficient. Gayle Saunders, on the other hand, is the pampered only child of a hard-working couple who eventually take in Patricia. While Gayle dreams of fancy clothes, a big house, and marriage to Marcus, a talented athlete, Pat concentrates on her school work, which earns her scholarships, first to boarding school, then to Princeton. She also discovers the black aristocracy on Martha's Vineyard and reinvents herself with a suitable pedigree. Marcus refuses to marry Gayle before he succeeds in major league baseball (which he eventually does), so she takes up with Ramsey Hilliard, a successful landscape contractor. As Gayle and her baby enjoy suburban living, Pat makes her mark on Mad Ave as a crackerjack ad producer. When the women seem to have grown hopelessly apart, tragedy reunites them. After Ramsey's gambling addiction bankrupts the Hilliards, Gayle and her daughter suffer one indignity after another, finally landing in a homeless shelter where Pat volunteers. Their tear-filled reunion, with Marcus now a celebrity athlete married to Pat, finds them both chastened: Pat has learned to temper her ambition with love, and Gayle has become practical and thoughtful. Driven by believable characters and no little sentiment, the two authors never lay on the molasses too thick. Not as literary as Gloria Naylor, this sisterhood-is-powerful first novel seems a natural for Oprah's Book Club. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 1997

ISBN: 0-312-15233-7

Page Count: 384

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1996

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

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

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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