The Woman Who Was Not All There

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9780060916022: The Woman Who Was Not All There

This amusing first novel is a slow starter as it chronicles several years in the lives of Marjorie LeBlanc and her four children--scrabbling along in their shabby house in Durham, N.C. But PW discovered that "there's a good story here, and any flaws are those of a writer of obvious ability whose enthusiasm occasionally outweighs her judgment. With experience, Sharp should reveal first-rate talent."

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Review:

Novel Marjorie LeBlanc's husband "had misled her for so long that she learned to lean away from life to keep from falling over, like a woman walking a large dog." When they finally split up, she removes his name from their mailbox and wearily begins trying to understand what happened and figure out how she will raise four rambunctious children - Sam, Karen, Carla, and Ruth - alone. After work, Marjorie watches TV, reads, and plays cards on the porch with her women friends and neighbors, all of whom have their own sad man-stories to tell. Her loneliness makes her son Sam brood and stare at the ground, "as if he were building up his resistance against inevitable attacks of loneliness in his adult future." Karen abandons the family to live with her grandmother and live "normal," where hard-drinking housewives don't play cards, swear, and have lesbian friends. Ruth and Carla, hard-assed tom-boys determined to stay tough at any cost, make sure to get home before dark if their mother is alone in the house. In wonderfully inventive prose and sharp-tongued, witty dialogue, Paula Sharp shows us how, with the help of her friends, Marjorie's spirit prevails almost in spite of herself. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Jesse Larsen

From Library Journal:

This whimsical, funny debut novel speaks of commonplace themesdivorce, work, marriage, independence, and friendshipcast in the rural communities of the modern South. The narrative tracks the progress of a poor white family, Marjorie LeBlanc and her four children, over a generation as they drift toward their separate paths, seemingly for the better. Marjorie is depicted as a crude, headstrong mother with an incredible compassion for her offspring, and therein lies the power of this curiously askew novel. Although the chronology and time lapses are a bit confusing and arbitrary, the characters (especially the juveniles) are well-etched and the dialogue gritty and genuine. Edward C. Lynskey, Documentation, Altantic Research Corp., Alexandria, Va.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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