Synopses & Reviews
Twenty-six-year-old Rosalie Preston works by day as an advice columnist for the romantically perplexed readership of Girl Talk magazine. But her true passion is for the stage and for her fledgling theater troupe, the First Borns, a tight pack of friends and lovers who live (mostly) in the East Village. When Rosalie comes to the notice of suave Berglan Starker, a theater underwriter--and also the father of her best friend--she finds herself caught up in a very different affair from those she so jauntily untangles in her column for teens. Struggling to be savvy but sage, she is swept along by curiosity, a taste for adventure, and a penchant for those alluring complimentary toiletries in New York's ritziest hotels. Fame versus art, sex versus love, ambition versus friendship, room service versus restaurants: these are the choppy waters the First Borners must navigate--together and, perhaps ultimately, apart--in this delicious novel. "The best of what the chick-lit genre has to offer: it's wry, compelling, and keenly observed."-- "What a delightful surprise....[Delbanco's] voice is fresh and wise....The angst here is warm and funny and has the true tone of excited urgency and humility that fuels youth."--Mary Ambrose, "Absurdly entertaining....The wistful and wise-cracking Rosalie is a winning screwball heroine."--Mark Rozzo,
"'It goes without saying that stories like this end in a different place than they begin,' acknowledges Rosalie Preston, twenty-something heroine of Francesca Delbanco's debut novel, Ask Me Anything, 'If I'd only paid more attention to that horrid Education of Henry Adams book I was forced to read twice in college, I would have known that mine was the self-assurance of someone whose education had yet to begin.' Set in the concrete paradise of New York City, Ask Me Anything is a kind of metropolitan bildungsroman, a coming-of-age chronicle for the post-baccalaureate generation experiencing the anxieties that accompany adulthood. Surrounded by her urban family, a band of aspiring bards known as the First Born Company, Rosalie, a reluctant advice columnist by day and struggling stage actress by night, walks a tightrope of recklessness and responsibility: to atone for her clandestine affair with the affluent father of her friend and First Born's patron diva, she reads the classics at a center for senior citizens several times a week. Delbanco's candid, often spicy prose imagines a heroine—think Elizabeth Bennett with a dash of Carrie Bradshaw—poised to conquer her brave, post-Harvard world: 'Think of all the brave people, thousands of them throughout history, who set sail for Virginia without knowing what to expect. The promise of freedom and independence was enough to make them turn their backs on home and embrace what amounted to an uncharted wilderness. If they could do it, and on those fragile storm-tossed ships, I could do, too.' Deliciously entertaining and astute, this education of Rosalie Preston merits a spot on any reader's syllabus." Reviewed by Tiffany N. Gilbert, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"The best of what the chick-lit genre has to offer: it's wry, compelling, and keenly observed."Library Journal "What a delightful surprise.... Delbanco's] voice is fresh and wise....The angst here is warm and funny and has the true tone of excited urgency and humility that fuels youth." Mary Ambrose, Boston Globe "Absurdly entertaining....The wistful and wise-cracking Rosalie is a winning screwball heroine." Mark Rozzo, Los Angeles Times Book Review"
A fizzy tale of manners and morals in Manhattan as told by a most delightful observer. Rosalie Preston works by day as an advice columnist, but her true passion is for her fledgling theater troupe, the First Borns.
"An engaging, screwball first novel....A genuine pleasure."--The New Yorker
About the Author
Francesca Delbanco received her MFA from the University of Michigan, where she later taught. She now lives in Los Angeles. This is her first novel.