A pregnant widow and her terminally sullen, antagonistic teenage stepdaughter leave Newark, New Jersey, for Los Angeles in pursuit of the American dream, where they meet a powerful soap-opera producer with a secret agenda. 35,000 first printing. $50,000 ad/promo. Tour.
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Fourteen years and three novels after Hearts, Wolitzer picks up precisely where she left off: widowed Linda Reismann, 27, is pulling into Los Angeles in her Mustang; Robin, her bratty adolescent stepdaughter, is asleep on the back seat. Skillfully interweaving a plot recap for those who missed the earlier volume, the author hurtles her characters through time into 1992. Rodney King and Reginald Denny are beaten, stores are destroyed by the riots, Clinton hits the campaign trail. The fact that Linda remains 27 and Robin 13 may startle some readers of the 1980 novel, but both characters are so genuine here that it scarcely matters. Wolitzer (who has also written several YA novels) captures the teenager brilliantly. Walking into a gourmet take-out shop for a snack, Robin finds only vegetable chips: ``They tasted a lot like regular potato chips, and the seltzer wasn't bad either. But what a rip-off.'' Passages such as this also indicate the major conflict that fuels the novel: the discrepancies between wealth and poverty, enchantment and delusion, for which LA's tinsel-town atmosphere provides the perfect setting. Deftly, quietly, characters milk each other emotionally and physically, yet amid it all some desperately and at times foolishly cling to love. Despite an onslaught of difficulties--everything from a car crash and a robbery/murder to a carefully engineered custody threat--Wolitzer guides readers at a slow, even pace, always allowing time for poetic description. Little asides that in some novels interfere with the pace here blend in seamlessly, for example, Linda's memory of a high school friend. Actions and reactions get sentimental at times, and a major plot development is tied up too easily, but the majority of readers will be too caught up in the characters' day-to-day frustrations and accomplishments for such nit-picking. (Literary Guild alternate selection; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Booklist:
Linda Reismann is a 24-year-old widow, saddled with an unborn child and teenage Robin, the daughter of her former husband. She travels from Newark to Los Angeles looking for a new start. An aging liquor-store owner hires her, proposes marriage, then is shot by a robber. A Latino dance instructor helps her get work at an upscale aerobic salon, but he turns out to be married. Cynthia Sterling, a wealthy soap-opera producer, hires her as a personal trainer; she supplies incredible medical care and moral support in the aftermath of a terrible car accident (caused by Robin), then files suit for custody of Linda's baby, calling her an unfit mother. Linda's life reads like the hard-luck story of a pleasant young woman until it turns up as a dossier composed by Sterling's private investigators. Linda reckons herself guilty of "criminal innocence"; but finally learns to fight the kindness of strangers and other essential battles. Wolitzer balances the instability and general kookiness of Linda's family life against the warmth and closeness of Robin's best friends, two black girls whose strong family bonds are tested severely by the L.A. riots. One of Wolitzer's best novels, filled with multiple levels of meaning and a nonstop story line. Denise Perry Donavin
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Book Description Harpercollins 5/1/1994, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0061180076 Excellent condition, hardback 1994 FIRST EDITION, no marks, great cover, great dust jacket, readit, VG+/VG+. Bookseller Inventory # BWOR-04267
Book Description Harpercollins, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0061180076
Book Description Harpercollins, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110061180076
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800611800711.0