Meredith Efken /
Steeple Hill /
EDITORIAL REVIEW: **For the members of a stay-at-home-moms' e-mail loop, lunch with friends is a sandwich in front of the computer. But where else could they discuss things like . . .** **S**uccess: Her workaholic husband is driving Dulcie Huckleberry around the bend. It's hard to love someone in sickness and in health when *he's never home!* **A**rt: Let the children express themselves, opines artistic Zelia Muzuwa, and then her son's head gets stuck inside a kitty scratching post . . . **H**ealth: Surely aches and pains are normal in an active little boy, yet those of soccer-mom Jocelyn Millard's son don't seem to be going away. **M**otherhood: Teen-mom-turned-farmer's-wife Brenna Lindberg can deal with the mud and the chickens, but what about her husband's desire for a child of his own? **I**ndiscretions: However youthful, they can come back to haunt you, learns pastor's wife Phyllis Lorimer. **Am**ends: These could stand to be made between officious list moderator Rosalyn Ebberly and her pampered sister, Veronica. Perhaps the other SAHM I AMers can teach these two something about sisterhood.
Terry McMillan /
Amazon.com ReviewTerry McMillan's sixth novel, The Interruption of Everything, is every bit as enthralling and empowering as her earlier hits and . However, as McMillan matures as an author, her characters follow suit, which leads her to a wiser, more introspective lead character in the form of Marilyn Grimes. Our reward, as readers, is a tale of midlife crisis, mixed with family and personal drama, all told in the witty, honest, and inspiring style we've come to expect from this seasoned storyteller.As Marilyn approaches middle-age, we follow her struggle to discover herself outside the constraints of a passionless marriage, a demanding family and an ever-growing list of dreams deferred. With three children in college, a husband who suffers from destructive professional and personal inertia, a demanding mother-in-law, a senile mother and a drug-addicted sister, Marilyn has more on her plate than she expected at this stage of the game. Torn between taking care of her friends and family and attending to her own needs, she's faced with choices, like deciding to finish her graduate degree, that never before seemed hers to make. Along the way, supporting characters like Marilyn's feisty little niece and supportive-yet-opinionated best friends Paulette and Bunny add humor and depth to our heroine's character. And as always, McMillan does a flawless job of incorporating humor into even the most traumatic situations, as evidenced by a scene in which Marilyn ends up babysitting her hairdresser's children while waiting twelve hours for new braids. ("At three, Blue has to make a run. Orange has to go to the bank to get a money order. I ask Lexus to find me a Pamper and I take the baby in the bathroom.")Warm and witty, sincere and heartfelt, The Interruption of Everything is sure to delight McMillan devotees and attract a host of new fans. --Gisele TouegFrom Publishers WeeklyMarilyn Grimes is desperately frustrated with her life as a housewife and amateur crafts maker. The world seems to be conspiring against her, as she and her husband hit the emotional and physical rocks of middle age and her extended family keeps erupting in chaos. Emmy Award–winning Whitfield's attempt at husky male voices is awkward, but she does a great job with both older women (Marilyn's mother, who has Alzheimer's, and her sassy mother-in-law, who "elopes" with her new retirement home lover). Oddly, her voice as Marilyn is often not engaging. In some ways the weakness in her characterization is appropriate, as Marilyn claims her soul has been "in hiding" as she's catered to everyone else's needs. But some listeners may get bored by Marilyn's narration, especially compared to her lively girlfriends and family. Still, Whitfield was a natural choice for the part, and she mostly lives up to her reputation in delivering this journey of self-discovery. Also available unabridged on 10 CDs and narrated by Desiree Taylor. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Joyce Carol Oates; Elaine Showalter /
Random House, Inc. /
EDITORIAL REVIEW: Joyce Carol Oates’s Wonderland Quartet comprises four remarkable novels that explore social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. In Expensive People, Oates takes a provocative and suspenseful look at the roiling secrets of America’s affluent suburbs. Set in the late 1960s, this first-person confession is narrated by Richard Everett, a precocious and obese boy who sees himself as a minor character in the alarming drama unfolding around him. Fascinated by yet alienated from his attractive, self-absorbed parents and the privileged world they inhabit, Richard incisively analyzes his own mismanaged childhood, his pretentious private schooling, his “successful-executive” father, and his elusive mother. In an act of defiance and desperation, eleven-year-old Richard strikes out in a way that presages the violence of ever-younger Americans in the turbulent decades to come.A National Book Award finalist, *Expensive People* is a stunning combination of social satire and gothic horror. “You cannot put this novel away after you have opened it,” said *The Detroit News*. “This is that kind of book–hypnotic, fascinating, and electrifying.”*Expensive People *is the second novel in the Wonderland Quartet. The books that complete this acclaimed series, A* Garden of Earthly Delights*, them, and *Wonderland*, are also available from the Modern Library.
Julie Kenner /
Jove Books /
From Publishers WeeklyWhat would happen if Buffy the Vampire Slayer got married, moved to the suburbs and became a stay-at-home mom? She'd be a lot like Kate Connor, once a demon/vampire/zombie killer and now "a glorified chauffeur for drill-team practice and Gymboree play dates" in San Diablo, Calif., that's what. But in Kenner's sprightly, fast-paced ode to kick-ass housewives, Kate finds herself battling evil once again. First a demon tries to kill Kate while she's making rigatoni for an important dinner party that her sweet second husband, Stuart, has scheduled—at the last possible minute—to butter up potential allies in his run for county attorney. Kate dispatches the demon handily enough, but she learns that Goramesh, one of the terrible High Demons, has come to town looking for something. Where's he hiding and what does he want? Can she defeat him without exposing her past to Stuart—and without putting two-year-old Timmy in day care? Though Kenner starts off her story by dropping so many brand names the book reads like a how-to manual for product placement, she settles down to the action soon enough, and readers will find spunky Kate hard not to root for in spheres both domestic and demonic. Film rights sold to 1942 Pictures and Warner Brothers._ (July)_ Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Product DescriptionRetired demon hunter Kate Connor must go back to work when she spots a demon lurking in the local Wal-Mart. But she'd better not arouse suspicion. This kind of thing could really hurt her husband's political career.
Christos Tsiolkas /
FromAlthough this is Australian author Tsiolkas’ fourth novel, it is the first to be published in the U.S. With its raw style, liberal use of profanity and racial epithets, and laserlike focus on the travails of suburban life, it is a down-and-dirty version of Tom Perrotta’s best-selling Little Children (2004). At a barbecue in a Melbourne suburb, a man loses his temper and slaps the child of the host’s friends. This incident unleashes a slew of divisive opinions, pitting friends and families against each other as the child’s parents take the man to court. Told from eight different viewpoints, the novel also deftly fills in disparate backstories encompassing young and old, single and married, gay and straight, as well as depicting how multiculturalism is increasingly impacting the traditional Aussie ethos. For good measure, the author also throws in male vanity, infidelity, and homophobia. Tsiolkas’ in-your-face style is sure to alienate some readers—the child’s parents, for example, are among the book’s most unlikable characters—but his novel, which won the 2009 Commonwealth Prize, fairly radiates with vitality as it depicts the messy complications of family life. --Joanne Wilkinson Review"A layered, briskly paced story about complex people. Think Tom Wolfe meets Philip Roth. Or 'The Sopranos' meets 'The Real Housewives of Orange County." -Oscar Villalon, Los Angeles Times "Brilliant, beautiful, shockingly lucid and real, this is a novel as big as life built from small, secret, closely observed beats of the human heart. A cool, calm, irresistible masterpiece." -Chris Cleave, author of Little Bee "_The Slap_ is nothing short of a tour de force, and it confirms Christos Tsiolkas's reputation as one of the most significant contemporary storytellers at work today. In his new book, Tsiolkas puts a microscope to family life and presents us with a vision both of unflinching honesty and great tenderness. The luminosity of his prose and the brilliance of his characterisation render the ordinary quite extraordinary. Here is a novel of immense power and scope, reminiscent of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and Don De Lillo's Underworld." -Colm Toibin, author of Brooklyn and The Master "Like all Tsiolkas' work, it is wildly energetic and fearless, thrillingly about our lives now." - Helen Garner, author of The Spare Room "This is a rich and engrossing novel, full of vivid incidents and intricate patterns...Tsiolkas's subtle character drawing, fast-moving narrative, and above all, fierce moral commitment make The Slap a worthy winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize." -_The Telegraph_ "Riveting from start to finish." -Jane Smiley, author of A Thousand Acres and Private Life "Radiates with vitality as it depicts the messy complications of family life." -_Booklist_ "Complex and multilayered. ...intertwined lives and slowly revealed connections make for a singular reading experience." -_Library Journal_ "With The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas secures his place as one of Australia's most important novelists...It is thrilling to have our life reflected back at us so accurately...Tsiolkas has written an absolute ripper." -_The Age_ "The best politicians are those who can instinctively divine the zeitgeist of their country's centre. For the ones who can't, I would place The Slap as mandatory bedside table reading. It's a perfect social document... More importantly, it's also a hell of a read." -_The Australian_ "Strikingly tender...it claws into you with its freshness and truth." -_Sydney Morning Herald_ "A controversial and daring novel, The Slap uses the iconic scene of a suburban Australian barbecue to examine identities and personal relationships in a multicultural society. Offering points of view from eight different characters, it taps into universal tensions and dilemmas around family life and child-rearing. This book is sure to challenge readers and provoke debate." -Committee for The Commonwealth Writers Prize 2009
David Matthew Klein /
Random House, Inc. /
SUMMARY: From Debut Novelist David Klein – A Page-Turning Story of Suburbia and Its Secrets Gwen Raine is a woman readers will instantly recognize: an attractive, thirtyish stay-at-home mom who lives in the kind of tranquil suburban community where the wives spend their days ferrying the kids to and from school and music lessons and nature camps and where the husbands work long, grueling hours at stressful white-collar jobs in order to maintain the upscale standard of living to which the whole family has become all-too-accustomed. It’s a milieu in which everything seems to be right—yet so much can go wrong. And it does—starting with a seemingly minor decision that turns Gwen’s perfect life upside down. It’s a typical Friday morning in late summer and Gwen is anticipating a long-awaited weekend away at the lake with her overworked husband, Brian, and their two small children. After dropping her daughter off at swim class, Gwen drives across town to purchase a small bag of marijuana from an old flame. She’s counting on the pot to help her unwind later that night in those precious private moments with Brian after the kids are asleep. Then, on the way home, Gwen gets into a car accident—an accident that leaves her bruised and somewhat battered but leaves the other driver (an elderly man who crossed over into her lane) dead. The local police know the accident isn’t her fault, but when they find the marijuana in Gwen’s car, they throw the book at her. There have been problems with drugs in the schools and they want to crack down on abusers, whoever and wherever they are. Before long, Gwen is in legal hot water—and the temperature keeps rising. Finally, under pressure from the police, her attorney, and her own husband, she reveals her source’s name. Meanwhile, Brian is embroiled in a moral and legal dilemma of his own when the big pharmaceutical company he works for markets an anti-anxiety drug for "off-label" use as a weight-loss aid, only to discover that it can have deadly consequences. And Gwen’s former lover Jude, a local restaurateur and the supplier of the stash of the title, has gotten in way over his head with his little side business. Told from multiple perspectives and revolving around a diverse set of vividly imagined characters, this rich, ambitious, and deeply satisfying novel takes a mordant look at our society’s ambivalent and often hypocritical attitude toward all manner of mood-altering substances, legal and illegal. Paced by psychological suspense and an ever-thickening plot, Stash ultimately is about the moral complications that arise when a modern woman’s fierce determination to do the right thing collides head-on with human fallibility and desire.
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