Posts Tagged ‘Pictures of You’

Now Playing On My Kindle: “Is This Tomorrow”

Friday, June 28th, 2013


I loved Caroline Leavitt’s previous novel, the New York Times bestselling Pictures of You, so I was excited when her new one came out. It did not disappoint, and I enjoyed it even more than the last one.

Set in suburban Massachusetts in the 1950s, it’s the story of Ava, a beautiful, divorced mother of a 12-year-old boy named Lewis. They’re the only Jewish family in their small town, a place of Eisenhower Cold War paranoia where anybody who’s “different” provokes suspicion. When Lewis’ friend and classmate, Jimmy, goes missing, the neighbors shun Ava entirely. The fact that she has a jazz musician for a boyfriend doesn’t help, and when he breaks off their relationship Ava is more isolated than ever.

But the novel is very much about Lewis too and how he tries to cope over the years with his friend Jimmy’s disappearance as well as his father’s disinterest. All the characters in the novel are richly layered, and the story builds to a surprising climax. Just when I thought I knew how things would go, Leavitt took the plot in another direction. She has a wonderful way of turning tragedy into compelling reading and of turning a flawed woman like Ava into someone you truly root for.

It’s so satisfying to finish a book and be able to recommend it without reservation to others, and I do recommend it. Leavitt is a beautiful writer and I can’t wait until she spins her next tale.

Tina Fey Makes Great Hospital Reading

Sunday, May 8th, 2011


Before I went in for surgery, my editor suggested I download a copy of Tina Fey’s “Bossypants.” She said it would cheer me up. She was right. The book should be required reading for anybody needing a laugh.


I don’t watch “30 Rock” and I wasn’t a fan of “Date Night,” but I’ve enjoyed Tina Fey on “SNL,” especially her Sarah Palin skits (who hasn’t). Mostly, I’ve admired the fact that she’s been able to achieve so much as a comedian in a business where funny women aren’t celebrated the way they should be.

As for her book, it’s pure pleasure. Tina is like the friend you wish you could hang out with all the time – hilarious, self-deprecating, always willing to look at life from a quirky-yet-remarkably-wise point of view. Whether she’s talking about growing up in PA, taking an ill-fated honeymoon cruise, trying to breastfeed her daughter or gearing up for the occasional fashion photo shoot, she’s excellent company. I enjoyed the book so much while I was in the hospital that I read it twice. Well, there wasn’t much else to do.

Now that I’m home, I’m reading Caroline Leavitt’s “Pictures of You.” No, it’s not funny, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.