STILETTO 911

THE MAKEOVER MANIFESTO OF A CAREER WOMAN

A spoiled rich girl’s wakeup call has an added twist in Schmidt’s first novel—the tale is designed to give women step-by-step instructions for establishing themselves in the world.

  At only 23-years-old, Morgan Demarest is kicked out of her boyfriend’s apartment with nowhere to go. Following the author’s introduction, Morgan quickly asserts herself as a shopaholic with a penchant for designer stilettos. It’s then that Demarest meets Divinity, her sassy fairy godmother who won’t tolerate Morgan’s whiny attitude. Divinity guides Morgan to a more purposeful life, and the story serves as an example for how women can give their lives a makeover. The book intertwines Morgan’s journey to find her life’s passion (an event planner, as it turns out) and helping women find their own life’s passion. Unlike most mundane self-help books, the story shows women how to reach their dreams without actually telling them. The “footnotes” at the end of each chapter further emphasize this point without preaching. Each footnote summarizes the lesson Morgan learned, including goal setting, finding a mentor, journaling, handling conflicts and making positive financial decisions. Although the story illustrates a person’s potential well, some aspects of the book are overdone. The characters don’t feel like average women; almost everyone starts a successful company, including Morgan, who at the end is on her way to being a very successful event planner. Morgan discovers her passion through her job at an art gallery, and, with advice from her no-nonsense fairy godmother, she figures out how to run her life without having money handed to her. Morgan’s journey is compelling, but the women’s desperate need for stilettos is exhausting. Despite these setbacks, the light-hearted story inconspicuously motivates women to do something with their lives.   A subtle blend of counseling, motivation and entertainment that will make any woman buy the hottest stilettos she can find and reach for her dreams.

 

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0615494784

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Glamour Press House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2012

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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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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

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

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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