Monday, October 25, 2010

Patti LuPone: A Memoir (Patti LuPone)

Criticism has come out about this memoir exploiting "diva-like" behavior. I didn't read it that way at all. In no way is Patti LuPone a "diva". She is someone with a backbone who will stand up against someone treating her unfairly...most specifically in this memoir, Broadway king Andrew Lloyd Webber.

LuPone does not gloss over anything, beginning with Juilliard and her romance with fellow student, Kevin Kline. From Evita to Sunset Boulevard, to Sweeney Todd to Gypsy, LuPone has seen it all and spills it all. While she spews hatred for Webber (after reading the chapters on Sunset Boulevard, you will understand why), her Life Goes On TV husband, Bill Smitrovich, and others, she is also quick to show her love for beloved stage costars such as Boyd Gaines and Laura Benanti of Gypsy. She has had a monumental theatrical career, and gives the reader a gift by allowing entrance into all of it.

There are very few living Broadway legends today. Patti LuPone is one of them. When she opens her mouth, you stop and listen. If that description sounds like the very first Mama Rose of Gypsy, Ethel Merman, then you know where I am going with this. Thank you, Ms. LuPone, for letting us all in on your fabulous theater experiences...and they're not over yet!


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mini Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)

Sophie Kinsella is back with a ho-hum continuation of Becky Bloomhood's (AKA "The Shopaholic") story in Mini Shopaholic. This time, the premise lies in passing on her shopping addiction to her two-year-old daughter, Minnie.

Becky is still living in London with her CEO husband, Luke, and working as a shopping consultant in a high-end department store for fantastically wealthy clients. Becky gets the bright idea to throw a surprise party for Luke, as he never celebrates his birthday. At the same time, she must deal with her daughter, who some say, is dangerously close to getting her mother's shopping gene. There is something wrong when a two-year-old knows the words "Starbucks" and "Visa".

We've seen this all before with other Shopaholic books. Kinsella seems to just throw all of the characters we've met in previous novels into this one. While entertaining at times (mindless fluff can do that), it's time for Becky Bloomwood's story to be over.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Look Again (Lisa Scottoline)

I am the first to admit that I have not always been a fan of Lisa Scottoline's books. I know that readers love her, particularly in the Philly area, where she lives. Having the good fortune of meeting Ms. Scottoline a few years back, I know that she is unbelievably nice, even going so far as to hug her fans. However, to me, I just never thought her books were of substance. That is, until Look Again came along.

This is the story of Ellen Gleeson, an ordinary woman who came home from work one day and noticed one of those "Have You Seen This Child?" cards in the mail. One of the child looks unbelievably like her adopted son, Will. Not being able to get this out of her mind, she sacrifices family and her job as a reporter (convenient, isn't it?) to get to the bottom of it. When she does, well, you can only imagine, there is heartbreak involved.

I found this book haunting, especially the cover, which reminds me very much of Jennifer McMahon's covers. However, while the book was fast-moving and suspenseful, I tend to not enjoy books that wrap things up in the end with a neat little bow. Scottoline fans can be rabid, and this one will certainly not disappoint them. While this is certainly the best book I have read by this particular author, I still cannot call myself a fan.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Cherries in Winter (Suzan Colon)

Cherries in Winter has as its subtitle, My family's recipe for hope in hard times. That should tell you everything you need to know about this wonderful book. As heartwarming a book as can be, reading this will make you feel like you can get through anything life throws at you. I began reading it going from Lewes, DE to Cape May, NJ on the ferry and finished it the same day on the ride back.

Colon has written a memoir from the heart. Beginning with her layoff, which has become all too familiar in this day and age, Colon intersperses stories about herself with stories about her beloved Nana. In between, the reader is treated to recipes from her grandmother's kitchen...from meatloaf to potato salad. It is amusing how Colon at times tries to "lighten up" the recipe from using butter and lard back then to nonfat yogurt today. The message of the book is that family and food go together, they always will, and rely on both to get you through the hard times.

You will probably read this in one or two sittings. Treasure it, and know that sometimes you just have to use butter to get it right!


This review can also be found at