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Literacy and Longing in L.A.by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack
Synopses & Reviews
Some women shop. Some eat. Dora cures the blues by bingeing on books — reading one after another, from Flaubert to bodice rippers, for hours and days on end. In this wickedly funny and sexy literary debut, we meet the beguiling, beautiful Dora, whose unique voice combines a wry wit and vulnerability as she navigates the road between reality and fiction.
Dora, named after Eudora Welty, is an indiscriminate book junkie whose life has fallen apart — her career, her marriage, and finally her self-esteem. All she has left is her love of literature, and the book benders she relied on as a child. Ever since her larger-than-life father wandered away and her book-loving, alcoholic mother was left with two young daughters, Dora and her sister, Virginia, have clung to each other, enduring a childhood filled with literary pilgrimages instead of summer vacations. Somewhere along the way Virginia made the leap into the real world. But Dora isn't quite there yet. Now she's coping with a painful separation from her husband, scraping the bottom of a dwindling inheritance, and attracted to a seductive book-seller who seems to embody all that literature has to offer — intelligent ideas, romance, and an escape from her problems.
Joining Dora in her odyssey is an elderly society hair-brusher, a heartbroken young girl, a hilarious off-the-wall female teamster, and Dora's mother, now on the wagon, trying to make amends. Along the way Dora faces some powerful choices. Between two irresistible men. Between idleness and work. And most of all between the joy of well-chosen words and the untidiness of real people and real life.
"Kaufman, a former L.A. Times staff writer, and Mack, a former attorney and Golden Globe Award — winning film and TV producer, check in with this solid, thoughtful chick lit debut. Dora, at 35, is a twice-divorced former young reporter on the rise at the L.A. Times. Second ex-husband Palmer is now head of Sony Pictures, and still supporting her. Dora's depressed, and she only leaves the house to stalk Palmer and buy more books. At the bookstore, she meets elegantly scraggly comp lit Ph.D. Fred, and they begin an unlikely courtship. Dora is soon surprised by Fred's invitation to meet his mother, Bea, whom Dora likes instantly, all the more so when she learns Bea is also raising Harper, the six-year-old daughter of Fred's troubled sister. The bond between Bea and Dora gives Dora something she never had with her own, alcoholic mother, and helps her make decisions that bring her life back into focus. Dora is the kind of deadpan and imperfect heroine with whom readers can easily identify. Kaufman and Mack mishandle the abrupt ending and epilogue, but are most likely setting up a welcome sequel. (June 6)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Ms. Kaufman and Ms. Mack have used reading itself as their book's source of sex appeal and have done it with enjoyable brio....It is not that this gambit is so unusual; there are plenty of books about the allure of reading. But the fusion of bibliomania and romantic comedy is appealingly offbeat." Janet Maslin, New York Times
"Kaufman and Mack cultivate a bright, breezy tone....This is chick fiction in its purest form, so humor is always plentiful." The Miami Herald
"A poignant and witty tale of life, love and letters in Los Angles...[a] brilliant debut novel." Karen Quinn, author of The Ivy Chronicles
Bibliophiles have reason to rejoice in this delightful debut about a woman's quest to find the perfect read for every imperfect moment in her life.
About the Author
Jennifer Kaufman was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times and is currently a freelance writer. Both live in Los Angeles, and this is their first novel.
Karen Mack is a Golden Globe Award-winning film and television producer.
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