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The risible title is arguably the best thing about Brown's latest comic novel, the tale of a woman who unwittingly comes out of the closet in midlife when she is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Under the impression that she is on her deathbed, wealthy North Carolina art dealer Mary Frazier Armstrong mails a series of brutally candid letters to her kith and kin, only to discover that she isn't dying after all. Brown delivers some nicely sketched southern characters: Mary Frazier's imperious mother, Libby, whose long-simmering anger has poisoned her daughter's life; her sensitive brother, Carter, an alcoholic redneck whose lifelong self-destructiveness is partly a response to Mary Frazier's success; her closeted lover, Ann, who is made uncomfortable by their claustrophobic secret life; and her dazzlingly outrageous gay friend Billy Cicero. But this gallery of character sketches cannot save the story from predictability and a deeply unconvincing resolution. Arch dialogue, lack of plot and an overall inattentiveness to nuance are the distinguishing features here. Fans of Brown's previous books ( Bingo ; Rest in Pieces ) may enjoy this story, but first-time readers are bound to be disappointed.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
More frothy fun from the queen of southern sexual farce--this featuring a former debutante who comes out of the closet in gossipy, backstabbing Virginia. ``Dying's not so bad. At least I won't have to answer the telephone,'' remarks 35-year-old Mary Frazier Armstrong, who's lying in the hospital with a terminal case of lung cancer. A stressed-out art-gallery owner with brilliant business instincts and drop-dead looks, the well-born Virginian cares more about dying than she'll admit to others and--on what she believes to be her final night--scribbles half a dozen heartfelt messages to her nearest and, in some cases, dearest. The next morning Frazier learns that her diagnosis resulted from a computer error and that she suffers only from bronchitis--but the letters, in which she finally informed her loved ones that she was gay--have already gone to the post office and can't be retrieved. Happy to be alive but dreading the nasty backlash sure to come, Frazier has no choice but to brace herself for the catty remarks, social snubs, tears, and general lambasting that inevitably do come her way. Only Frazier's eccentric aunt, her stoic father, her loyal assistant, a bisexual friend, and, when not in his cups, her layabout brother stand up for Frazier while society's vultures circle to rip her to shreds. But Frazier's a survivor--and when the pressure grows too great, she simply escapes via a fantasy visit into a painting of Mount Olympus, to sport with the ancient, wiser goddesses and gods. Brown's story drapes thinly across a tiresome string of platitudes (``You are as sick as you are secret,'' ``Normal is the average of deviance,'' ``Death is like a punctuation mark, a period at the end of a sentence,'' etc.), but her sexual frankness and flippant humor are as refreshing as always. (First printing of 75,000) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.See all Product Description
This book in not anywhere near Ms Brown's usual standards. Lacklustre story based on an unbelievable premise. Too bad!Published on July 8 2004 by m-lee
A novel like this needs a light touch. Instead, Brown gives us a fantasy sex scene after which the lovers lie in each other's arms discussing Reagan-Bush AIDS policy & the... Read morePublished on Aug. 24 2003 by Isabeau
I thoughly enjoyed this book about a women who decides to comes out to her friends ands family when she is mistakenly diagonsed as dying. Read morePublished on June 22 2002 by Michael S. Waren
When I started reading this book, I thought, Good ol' Rita Mae has out-done herself this time--it was the funniest, cleverist beginning of a book I have ever read--but I would rate... Read morePublished on Nov. 8 2000 by Starr
This book is absolutely one of the worst I have ever read. Brown may be one of the most talented authors in America, but I'm sure as heck not liable to read anything else she's... Read morePublished on July 13 2000
This was a "book of the month" for my book club, and what a snooze. The theme of the book--authenticity of self--is well-worth exploring in our phony society. Read morePublished on May 29 2000 by S. Winter
I read the description of the book so I was not surprised at the content, and true to MS. Brown's writing, she captures you with her characters. Read morePublished on Feb. 15 2000