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Serendipity: A Novelby Louise Shaffer
Synopses & Reviews
I just put hairspray on my armpits, Carrie said. She told herself the shrill note in her voice was not hysteria. She was not losing it; she had merely chosen to call her ex-ﬁancéeacute; to tell him a funny story. He was one of her very best friends, and you shared the good stuff with your pals. I was going for the deodorant. I kept thinking, ‘Wow, this deodorant is sticky.' Then I looked at the can. The thing is, I don’t know why I had hairspray-I never use it. It makes my hair look like a Brillo pad.
Carrie? You okay?” Howie's voice came at her over the phone. And suddenly she was going to lose it after all. How the hell do you think I am, Howie? My mother died ten days ago.
Carrie drew in a deep breath. I'm ﬁne, she said.
You sure? Howie sounded worried-and not quite awake. What time was it, anyway? “Why are you up at four-thirty in the morning?” he added, answering the question.
Oh God, I'm sorry. I didn’t know . . . Explanations raced through her head. See, Howie, I’ve been waking up a little early . . . No, the truth is, Howie, I can't sleep. I can’t eat either-nothing except potato chips. I got into them when I was hanging around the hospital . . . She stopped herself. Because she was rambling. True, it was an internal ramble, but anytime she started wandering mentally it was a sure sign that she had lost control. And dwelling on the hospital and her mother's last days there was deﬁnitely a bad idea. Carrie had gotten through the funeral Mass a week ago, and the memorial service the day before, by not dwelling. Not dwelling had gotten her out of bed that morning and it had gotten her dressed-except for the hairspray/deodorant mishap–and now she was on her way to clean out her mother's apartment. Although possibly not right at this moment. Not at four-thirty am. Go back to sleep, Howie. I'm sorry I bothered you.
I am ﬁne. I am Carrie Manning. I am thirty-seven years old. And, okay, I’m a little tense this morning because my mother's ...not alive anymore. But I’m not going to dwell on that. Not now. Now, I’m going to think about how I got through the memorial service yesterday without crying once. I was great at that service. I didn't even tear up when they sang the Panis Angelicus.
Carrie? Howie’s voice on the phone brought her back to reality. Honey, you're not still freaking out about the ﬂowers, are you?
Okay, so I didn’t get through the memorial service quite as well as I might have.
I didn't freak out. I was upset.
“However you want to say it, Carrie . . .”
I put it in the obituary-‘No ﬂowers'–that’s what it said. It was right there in the New York Times. I listed all of Mother's charities so people could make donations.
Yes, I saw that.”
“I did it exactly the way she wanted it. The woman was once voted Humanitarian of the Year by Living Life magazine. That's what the plaque said: Rose Manning, Humanitarian of the Year, 1986 ...
I know, Carrie-
“Her wishes fo
At thirty-seven, Carrie Manning feels her life is going nowhere, and when she suspects that her issues might have to do with her fraught relationship with her recently deceased mother Rose, she begins to dig deep into three generations of family history to uncover the dark secret buried for more than thirty years. Original.
A child of theatrical royalty, Carrie Manning is having a hard time getting her own act together. Thirty-seven, aimless, and having just buried a famous mother she never understood, she is desperate to uncover her family's mysterious past in the hopes that it will help her understand herself. Carrie's search reveals the fascinating life stories of her estranged grandmother Lu, a glamorous Broadway star whose dreams came with a price; her great grandmother Mifalda, who gave up everything to come to America as a sixteen-year-old Italian bride; and her father, Bobby, the charismatic Broadway genious who wrote some of Lu's greatest musicals and died tragically young. At the heart of Carrie's discoveries lies the reason for her mother's complicated life, and a dark secret that has been buried for thirty years.
About the Author
Louise Shaffer is the author of Family Acts, The Ladies of Garrison Gardens, and The Three Miss Margarets. A graduate of Yale Drama School, she has written for television, and has appeared on Broadway, in TV movies, and in daytime dramas, earning an Emmy for her work on Ryan’s Hope. Shaffer and her husband live in the Lower Hudson Valley.
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