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Life is arbitrary and chaotic in Moore's world, and the inner monologues of her characters are correspondingly thick with puns: accidental, meaningless resonances between words that have no real relationship each other. An overheard conversation at a support group slips from talk about "suffering sweepstakes" to "suffering succotash". How can anyone be sure what they mean when they have to rely on these slippery words? What Tassie learns during this year of college is that in life, as in language, it's easy to find false affinities. If this sounds light, it's not. What's said is complex, and what isn't said has devastating consequences. Rosalie Knecht
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Wendy on 11-02-09
Great Writing - Not Great Book
Lorrie Moore is a terrific writer of short stories. I found many of the qualities of those stories in this book - funny, ironic, fierce and clear-eyed about people, close observation of social norms, and dead-on dialogue. But this novel didn't work for me. It hung on plot devices and characters' backstories that were unbelievable - and not in an intentional absurdist way - just out there. The connection to 9/11 seemed very thin, and most of the characters felt underdeveloped over the length of the book - keenly portrayed for a few scenes but not with much depth. Still, I kept thinking wow can Lorrie Moore write! Sometimes sad, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Narration was well-suited to the main character's voice. Looking forward to more short story masterpieces from Moore.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
By Diane on 05-04-10
Tassie reminds me of a kid who, after going strong for hours straight, comes in for dinner. When Dad asks, "What did you do today?" the reply is "Nothing." So disinterested in her life or the world, I hoped Tassie would drop out of the story and put both of us out of our misery. Maybe that's how you tell the tale of a post-9/11 20-year old, but it just didn't catch me the way it apparently appealed to others.
Much of the story was just not believable for me. Tassie becomes a nanny. She is described as very good at child care, but how can someone who is so matter-of-fact, unemotional and detached ever do so much as say "GOO!" to a small child?
While she's babysitting a group of children, Tassie can somehow hear long stretches of conversation 2 floors below. Really? This means (a) the children would have to be completely still AND (b) Tassie would have to be ignoring them - yet she gets kudos for doing such a good job.
Tassie's employer owns a fine restaurant. The author's discussion suggests she's maybe eaten a few nice meals, but I don't think she has any idea, really, about food, cooking, menus, or running a restaurant. She tries too hard to come up with odd flavor and component combinations.
The story about Sarah and Edward leaving their 4-year old on the Mass Turnpike, going to jail, changing their names and moving to the midwest. C'mon, gimme a break!
I'm sure it's possible for a university student such as Tassie to wind up enrolled in that liberal arts-gone-wild combo of courses she's taking, but her college experience sounds more like the 70s than present day. (Or maybe that's just my hope as university faculty?)
Clearly, some people really enjoyed this, so I encourage others to listen to the sample. If you like the narration, it will give you a good idea about how you'll respond to the book. If you aren't immediately captured, don't waste your time.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Julie on 10-15-10
Not as good as I hoped
I enjoy Lorrie Moore's short stories but was disappointed by this reading of her novel.
You may love this. I don't know if it was reading or the book(which I have not read) but I found the reading rather laboured, witticisms (and there are many) were so pointed up and drawn attention to that they soon failed to amuse me and seemed rather heavy handed. Maybe the style is less suited to the novel rather than short stories, or maybe it is just my preference for a different style of reading.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful