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Hand-Me-Down [Paperback]

Lee Nichols


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Book Description

June 1 2005 Red Dress Ink Novels
For Anne Olsen, new and improved is the only way to live. So how'd she fall for a secondhand man? Charlotte had the Malibu Barbie with a full wardrobe. Emily inherited a slightly used Barbie with two outfits and Anne was left with a one-armed, bald Barbie who enjoyed nudist colonies. It's little wonder that at twenty-nine, Anne drives a new car, eats only from freshly opened packages and thinks antique is a euphemism for moldy.

After growing up in the shadows of her older sisters -- one a swimsuit model, the other a pop-feminist -- Anne's personality is one part sibling rivalry and two parts VD (stands for Vague Dissatisfaction, and yes, it itches). Now she's the self-professed underachiever in the family, determined to find happiness on her own terms. But when her sister's ex-boyfriend -- seemingly perfect, potentially interested -- reenters her life, Anne's got to ask: Could she possibly fall in love with a hand-me-down man?


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Red Dress Ink (June 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373895232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373895236
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 13.3 x 2.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,518,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

After growing up in the shadow of sisters Charlotte, a stunning swimsuit model, and Emily, a brilliant feminist scholar, 29-year-old Anne Olsen has a natural aversion to anything secondhand—and that especially includes her sister Charlotte's ex-boyfriend Ian, who's a cute, available antiques dealer. But despite her deep fear of ancient rugs and her lasting case of VD ("Vague Dissatisfaction"), this namesake to the least remarkable of the Brontë sisters proves an irresistible heroine in Nichols's second novel (after Tales of a Drama Queen). Anne's zany enthusiasm for life, evidenced in her ill-fated attempt at window design during her brief employ at Banana Republic, or her efforts to preserve a tract of pristine Santa Barbara property while working at her boyfriend Rip's real estate office, will warm readers' hearts, as will her genuine love for her superstar sisters. No bitter edge spoils the sweetness of Nichols's delectable tale, which heats up when Anne announces her love for Rip but can't shake the feeling that Ian might just be a better fit. Nichols is one of chick lit's brightest lights, and here she delivers a funny, utterly winning story of family, love and self-discovery.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Anne Olsen has never found it easy to be the youngest of three sisters. Her eldest sister, Charlotte, is a former swimsuit model with a rich husband and three perfect children. Her middle sister, Emily, is an academic who published a revolutionary dissertation on pornography and feminism. Anne has never quite found what she wants to do, and has drifted from retail jobs to secretarial positions. At 29, she's working for a realty company and dating the owner, Rip Parsons. Usually unable to commit, Anne is making a genuine effort to give her relationship with Rip a chance, despite her crush on Charlotte's high-school boyfriend, Ian, who has recently come back into her life. But it's Ian, not Rip, who is inspiring Anne to make something of herself and actually find something--anything--she feels passionate about. Nichols' second novel is a delightful tale about a young woman coming into her own and finding love in the process. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Hilarious Character-Driven Novel May 30 2005
By ChickLitGirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Anti-heroines work really well in a novel if the author can present them in such a way that the reader still loves them regardless of their many quirks, mistakes and shortcomings. Lee Nichols, author of "Hand Me Down" definitely possesses such talent - her characters in both of her books have been flawed, but highly lovable.

In this latest offering, we have Annie (Anne). She is tired of living in the shadow of her two older sisters- one is a famous swimsuit model and the other is a bestselling author. Not only that but her life growing up as the youngest child has always been difficult. She often ended up with the oldest and most worn items.

As a result, Annie doesn't like anything old or used, and has a very hard time committing. Now 29 years old, she is vaguely happy with her boyfriend Rip, a decent job (working as an Office Manager for Rip), and gets to spend time with her sisters and their children. However, she isn't quite satisfied with her life. Especially when Ian, her childhood crush (and older sister's ex-boyfriend) keeps showing up. It soon becomes clear that Annie isn't over her "crush" on Ian. But she refuses to settle with one of her sisters' ex-boyfriends. Plus, he isn't interested in her anyway... he has a fiance, right?

"Hand-Me-Down" was a often hilarious and enjoyable read. Lee Nichols manages to really get us in the head of the main character. Although the plot seems at a sort of stand-still through a lot of the book, it is still fun to read because of the funny and endearing scrapes/situations that Annie gets herself into. She is definitely one of those characters that "make" the book.

As with this author's last book, the reading was fresh, fun and kept me turning pages. Without giving any spoilers, however, the only thing I was a little disappointed about with this book was the romance aspect, which was a bit on the bland side.

Overall however, I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a wonderful, hilarious and cute novel with great characters. I'm eager to see what this author comes up with next!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging story with great characters Aug. 22 2005
By Tracy Vest - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Olsen sisters are aptly named after the Bronte sisters. There is Charlotte, the oldest and sexy former supermodel; Emily, the middle sister who as an author cut her teeth on pornography; and Anne, named after the "forgotten" Bronte sister, who at 29, has held a series of dead end jobs. Her entire childhood was spent obtaining hand me down clothes and toys. She's especially despondent over the naked, hairless, one-armed Malibu Barbie she inherited oh so long ago, that continues to be the bane of her existence. In adulthood, she has an aversion to anything not new. She won't even eat a bag of chips at dad's house if it's already open. Unsatisfied with her current relationship with Rip, but willing to stick it out so she's not alone, she runs into Charlotte's high school beau, Ian. She had a secret crush on Ian, and even invited him to her 7th grade dance.

Ian, now engaged, and owner of a business Anne cannot condone or accept (an antique shop), forms a friendship with Anne, and the two start a Thursday night ritual of cocktails. After meeting his fiancé Helene, Anne finds herself jealous, and Rip realizes that his "polliwog" may have eyes for another. As Ian and Anne spend more and more time together, and he's supportive of her quest to develop a parcel of land for open space, she discovers that she does indeed have feelings for him, but is unsure if she can settle for a hand-me-down boyfriend, especially one that worked his way through the Olsen sisters.

Nichol's latest is an engaging and very amusing story of one woman's quest to find herself and carve out her own path, as she compares herself to the many accomplishments of her older sisters. At time's Anne is a bit over the top (for instance, the whole chip thing). The poignant, humorous, and well-written story will resonate with anyone with an older sibling.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hand Me Down May 7 2006
By horselover374 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book-the main character was great!!! I rooted for her grandiose plans.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes Hand-Me-Downs Fit Perfectly! Aug. 29 2005
By Sasha Seymour - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
OK, so it might not be great literature, but Hand-Me-Down by Lee Nichols is so much fun, you won't mind that it's not. Please don't rush to judge the book by its main character's first misadventure, a silly scene involving mannequins, because what happens if you stick with the book is you'll fall a little bit in love with protagonist Anne Olsen yourself, as exasperating as she is, and you will come to appreciate Nichols' humor as well as her insight into what it can be like to be the youngest and most underachieving of three sisters-- this is my station in life, so I know!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just So So Aug. 31 2008
By Veronica Martinez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Hand Me Down does a fairly good job of keeping the reader interested and entertained. Anne, the main character of the novel, is just as plucky and humorous as the usual chick-lit heroines are. I thought the most interesting aspects of the novel were her relationships with her friends, dad, and, of course, her sisters. Her romantic relationship with Ian never really developed for me, and I can't say that I was really rooting for them to be together in the end. This is mainly becuase I had a little issue with the way they finally got together, which I won't go into so as not to spoil it. I also rated this only 3 stars becuase of another thing that irritated me, regarding Wren's secret. Also, I can't help but notice the rampant mistakes I always find in Red Dress Ink books. They need to do a better job of editing, as these mistakes and typos can be really distracting. Overall, though Hand Me Down was a worthwhile summer read.

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