From Publishers Weekly
A zinger of an opening scene, narrated with brio and poetic clarity, inaugurates the emotional tension and sweetly farcical action of this new novel by Anshaw (Aquamarine). Fern, 21, is a senior in college. More than a decade ago, her Chicago college administrator mother, Nora, left Fern's father to come out of the closet and live with her lover, Jeanne. A casualty of Nora's new identity, Fern is still sullen and vulnerable, and not about to make things easier for her mother, especially when she discovers that Nora is cheating on Jeanne, having succumbed to the passion ignited by tough-girl Pam, a construction worker. Fern also worries about her best friend, Tracy, a perennially restless and reckless adventurer who feels tied down by her new baby, born out of wedlock. Then Fern herself falls in love with a guy who has problems. Fortunately, Fern can confide in her Uncle Harold, a gentle cross-dresser who on Thursday afternoons hosts his canasta club as Dolores. The characters may be offbeat, but the novel is mainstream in its appeal, radiating energy and humor, and dispensing wisdom about the frailties of the human heart. Anshaw's prose sparkles with gems of description and solid psychological perceptions. The narrative smoothly integrates the flash points in mother-daughter relations, the bonds and tensions between lovers, the sexual fires that disrupt a trusting relationship, the ties that constitute family and the deep affection between a girl and her dog. The eponymous Lucky has been the one constant in Fern's life; his death is a touching rite of passage, when Fern understands that she has learned to take responsibility and feel compassion for herself and others. Agent, Jean Naggar. (May 22)Forecast: Movie scouts, take note. This could be a real winner on the silver screen.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Expertly crafted, with just the right amount of tension, drama, and humor, Anshaw's new novel is the kind of work that readers love to savor, anxiously reading ahead but regretting that it must come to an end. Nora and her teenage daughter, Fern, have a typically contentious relationship. They share a house with Nora's partner, Jeanne, and their dog, Lucky, and life is purring along until Nora makes a bad decision that results in a painful disruption of their family life. Fern, wise beyond her years, emerges as the real caregiver, checking in with her depressive boyfriend, rescuing her best friend from becoming a child abuser, and ultimately even putting her battles with her mother on hold long enough to help Nora recover her footing in life. Anshaw creates intelligent characters about whom the reader will come to care deeply. Her characterization of the aging family dog is as considered and detailed as that of the human principals in the story and will strike a familiar chord with pet owners. Anshaw is the author of two Lambda Award finalists, Aquamarine and Seven Moves. Her latest is highly recommended for all fiction collections. Caroline Mann, Univ. of Portland Lib., OR
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.