Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Double Dip into UnDomestic Bliss

I've read two books lately that seem to interestingly mirror one another,theme wise on the tricky nature of marriage and family. In Lauren Lipton's first novel It's About Your Husband,Iris Hedge has left her flakey actor husband Teddy and San Fernando Valley to start life over in a brand new marketing job in New York. Several months later,she's quickly downsized and faces debt along with loneliness in the wilds of the big city. One friend from her newly old job,Val,unintentionally helps her find work as her twin sister Vickie needs someone to spy on her husband Steve who she suspects of cheating.

Iris is no Nancy Drew(or even a Veronica Mars);Steve catches on to her stalking all too soon and Iris becomes sort of a double agent. She still keeps an eye on him for Vickie's stake but also wants to help solve their marriage probelms,possibly as a way to fight off her attraction to Steve who has quite a few secrets up his sleeve.

One of the things that I really liked about this book is how Iris discovers that change is not always a bad deal and that her original perceptions-of Steve,Vickie and New York,for example-were not accurate but surpisingly adjustable. This is a fun read,as quickly paced as the street traffic of NYC with plenty of good humor and some survival tips for newcomers to the Big Apple.

Laura Ruby's I'm Not Julia Roberts is a set of interlocking short stories about families that are interwoven thru second marriages and divorce. The title story title comes from Lupe Klein(known as "Loopy" to her three stepsons,Devin,Britt and Ollie)who was kicked off of a second wives website due to her take on the Julia Roberts flick Stepmom(or so she believes) which is" set in some fantasy New York Cityland where there is NO TRAFFIC. Ever. Second, the bio-mom gets cancer and DIES in that idiotic movie. Who here is going to get that lucky?" She has a point there.

Lu is featured in several of the tales told here,as she deals with her husband's difficult ex,Beatrix,who has also remarried and is dealing with cranky stepdaughter Liv whose mother Roxie is experiencing the not so thrilling joys of her new life of singles dating. One of the strongest stories in this collection is "Dear Psycho" that chronicles the end of one marriage and the transition to the next for both parties thru letters,random notes and e-mail.

Men are not painted as the bad guy here;they are given as much emotional weight as the women and children in these thoughtful and sometimes humorous looks on life after divorce. This is the first adult novel by Laura Ruby(she's also written two books for kids and recently published a YA novel this fall,Good Girls)and her debut is not to be missed,by any means.

It's About Your Husband is currently on bookstore shelves while I'm Not Julia Roberts will be out in January of 2007(please click the title link for more info).My advice is to check out IAYH now and keep an eye open for INJR later. Both titles make for smartly sensible yet lively literary books to cozy up to this winter season.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Lady T. Glad you liked the book!

-- Laura Ruby

lady t said...

You're very welcome and I look forward to your next one! Happy Holidays:)

Anonymous said...

Call me crazy (you wouldn't be the first), but I am CERTAIN that Laura Ruby has some kind of spyware in my computer and has "sampled" the emails that have been exchanged between my husband and his X (lovingly referred to as "The Chihuaha" - she's a 4'10" Columbian) and me and my X (known as "Pretty Boy." The best my mother the church lady can say is "Well, he sure made pretty babies.") Sometimes it's hysterical funny seeing the similarities in Ruby's book, but other times it makes me think I need therapy (and should get a group rate with the Xes and our 5 kids included.) Great book. I think I'll give it to every new divorce client that comes in for a legal consult!