Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Truth About Delilah Blue by Tish Cohen

Good morning and welcome to the first edition of the Celebrity Book Club.

As I've been blurbing in previous posts, this is the beginning of a new feature at my blog, where once a month I will feature a book I've read that just blows me away, and I will invite the author and other celebrities in the art world to join in with you, the reader, for a discussion of the book in the comments section here.

So today we start with "The Truth About Delilah Blue" by an absolutely amazing author I am also proud to call my friend, Tish Cohen.

And if you haven't already read this astonishing book, here is a comprehensive list, everywhere from Amazon to independent bookstores, which you can purchase it by just clicking here. It has two covers -- the Canadian version (Tish hails from Toronto)...

...and the American version.

Here is what we writers call the "elevator pitch", or, as Tish's publisher would say, the provocative premise of the book:

What if you woke up one day to learn that you were once a child on a milk carton?

Is that brilliant or what? And that is going to be our basis for discussion, sort of, but more on that in a moment. First, here's the official synopsis:

"Delilah Blue Lovett has always been a bit of an outsider, ever since her father moved her from Toronto to L.A. when she was eight, claiming Delilah's mother no longer wanted to be part of their family. Twenty now and broke, but determined to be an artist like her errant mom, Delilah attends art class for free—by modeling nude at the front of the room, a decision that lifts the veil from her once insular world. While she struggles to find her talent, her father, her only real companion, is beginning to exhibit telltale signs of early-onset Alzheimer's. Just as Delilah’s father falls further and further into Alzeimer’s, she discovers that he’s been harboring a horrible secret for over 15 years, but he no longer remembers the motivations behind his deception… or the consequences. And her mother, who Delilah always assumed had selfishly abandoned them, is about to reappear with a young daughter in tow . . . and a secret that will change everything. Delilah no longer knows which parent to trust—the only one she can really rely on is the most broken person of all: herself.

Reminiscent of the books of Jodi Picoult (House Rules, Keeping the Faith) and Jennifer Weiner (In Her Shoes, Best Friends Forever)—as well as Lisa Genova’s breakout novel about Alzheimer’s, Still Alice—The Truth About Delilah Blue by acclaimed author Tish Cohen (Town House, Inside Out Girl) delivers a touching, poignant novel about one young woman’s attempt to come to terms with loss, betrayal, and forgiveness

In a new novel as witty, sparkling, and poignant as her acclaimed Inside Out Girl, author Tish Cohen uncovers the humor and heart within the most dysfunctional of families."

This book has already garnered some pretty impressive praise from some very significant people:

"There are some books you can’t put down, and others that won’t even let you look away. Tish Cohen’s new novel is both. Try to read it while ironing, and you will perma-press a pinky; do the same while making a sandwich, and you will end up buttering the phone bill. But as the summer’s first terrific beach read, this isn’t really an indoor kind of book anyway. Both of Cohen’s previous novels (Town House and Inside Out Girl) are in development as films, and The Truth About Delilah Blue is sure to follow. She is clearly familiar with the cinema’s propulsive rhythms, and has an almost Hitchcockian sense of how to uncoil audience guts and play double dutch with them. And yet Delilah Blue is a purely domestic drama; no wild-bird invasions or psychotic moteliers in sight, though there may as well be..."—The Globe and Mail—

“Tish Cohen knows how to slide us into a story, letting us imagine we might know the pathway. But we are wrong because she is a wonderful storyteller and will surprise us at every turn. She has created a cast of characters who are filled with delicious human frailty and love. If you think you know anything about parental love and misguided choices, think again. Cohen peels away the layers of families and human desires and leaves us with a world of hope.”
–Jacqueline Sheehan, NYT bestselling author of Lost & Found and Now & Then

“A beautifully written, finely wrought, race-to-the-end novel about finding your family, finding a life, and finding yourself. Tish Cohen is the next great thing in women’s fiction.”
– Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of The One That I Want and Time of My Life

“[This] coming-of-age story itself—the transformation of outsider Lila into self-assured Delilah Blue—proves satisfying and will definitely appeal to the crossover audience that straddles YA and adult fiction.” —Booklist—

“Cohen…knows how to focus on character in ways that make readers care.” —Kirkus Reviews—

“Cohen’s popular fiction is balanced comfortably between heavy and light; the author employs humour to touch on serious issues, and she has a thing for precocious little-girl characters. Her prose is intelligent and sparkling, her characterization is deft, and she absolutely nails essential details, such as Lila’s habit of doodling on her boots when she’s nervous.” –Quill & Quire—

I would have to say I agree with all of the above and that is putting it mildly!

There are so many levels on which this book is brilliant I do not know where to begin so let’s go back to Tish's "elevator pitch" and build on that.

What if you woke up one day to learn that you were once a child on a milk carton? What if everything you thought you knew about your parents was a lie?

Here’s a theme which repeatedly ran through my head while I was reading and even more so afterwards:

What if you grew up thinking that your mother didn’t want you?

What would your life have been like if you didn't have a mother?

So much that occurred during my childhood up until my teenaged years formed the person I am today. What about you? Let's discuss that, too. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning but I can name every kid in my kindergarten through sixth grade classes in elementary school and all the teachers, too…I can tell you where I went, I can tell you what I ate…I can tell you how I felt at Delilah's young age when this book opens up, when I sadly laced my big, ugly saddle shoes I knew the other kids would make fun I had to wear because back then, they were considered "orthopedic" and would prevent me from being flat-footed or pigeon-toed, I forget which. My mother hugged me tight and told me I was the most beautiful girl in the world, and that no one would notice my shoes because I was so special and brilliant. Okay, so she stretched the truth, and I got teased mercilessly from day one, but when I got home from school that first day of "the shoes", there was a huge, freshly baked two layer coconut cake on the kitchen table, my very favorite, and my Mom beaming so proudly I didn't have the heart to tell her the rest of the world didn't quite agree with her assessment.

Christ, I even had to wear those freaking shoes with my Halloween costume that year...that's me on the first row, last one on the right, and please don't ask what that was on my head...but what I do know is that my Mom made all of my costumes even though like most kids, I didn't appreciate it and wished she'd just let me buy a costume in a box like everyone else. But now, looking back, it was my mother's love of art and music...she was a true beatnik...that made me the woman I am today and I was able to pass those same qualities on to my own kids.

Photo of Eric by Ramie Egan


I shudder to think what my childhood would have been like without my Mom, but sadly, like Delilah, she would be taken from me way too soon, but after graduation from high school and not by abduction but by a deadly cancer.

My mother was my best friend even though sure, there was a time as a teenager I made her walk fifteen steps ahead of me because I was embarrassed to be seen shopping with her; there were times I wished she could be like the other mothers; but even as a young girl I knew how special our relationship was. I lost my mother before I was really an adult; it was a loss from which I never recovered. She never met my children, and "all I got is a photograph". (Wait…am I quoting a Ringo Starr song? Oh well. It is one of his better ones)

So what if your mother wasn’t in your life from the time you were eight…and what if you grew up believing she didn’t want you?

Let's talk about that in the comments, okay? I'm interested in hearing about your relationship with your Mom and how she defined the person you became as an adult. Conversely, if you lost your Mom at a young age, please tell me about that, and the profound effect it had to have had on you.

Now let's talk fathers.

I couldn’t hate Delilah's father, Victor, an anal retentive man, so frightened, so consumed with love, that he’s lost sense of what is right and wrong. He adored Delilah so ferociously he really believed he was doing the right thing. He thought he was rescuing his beloved daughter from what he just knew in his gut would be a life of neglect at the hands of his hippie wife -- neglect that would surely lead to Delilah's gory, untimely death. Tish addresses the subject of early onset dementia, and your heart will break for Victor. (And if you are like me, you will hit Google because if you are of, *cough*, a certain age, you might identify with some of Victor's symptoms a little too much but again, this is more a result of brilliant character development rather than my walking upstairs and forgetting why the hell I am there and what it is I wanted to do.)

What was your relationship with your Dad? Ha ha, I will save my own experience for my therapist, but let's just say I don't think he would have tried to save me from anything unless he somehow benefited from it. But even that shaped who I am..I vowed as a child to be the complete opposite as a parent and as a result, I have the two least screwed up kids in the universe.

And I did think a lot about Elizabeth, the woman from whom Victor allegedly saved his daughter. Tish does not paint her to be an angel; far from it. At times it was hard to be sympathetic to her, even though she suffered the most horrific atrocity a woman could face --losing her child. But as I read the book, I "got her" and even related. Growing up is hard. Some of us do it better than others. I have two adult children and am still shocked when I look in the mirror and don't see someone their age staring back at me. Tish nailed what it's like to be from the "Hope I Die Before I Get Old Generation" and I ought to know, I'm club president. In Elizabeth she gives us two very different women - a tortured victim and a vain narcissist who must now face the sad truth that she is a fading beauty and no longer young and able to rely on youth and good looks to get by, but Tish has constructed this character so cleverly we have compassion for her regardless.

The co-stars in this book are also adeptly created. We have Elizabeth's daughter and Delilah's heretofore unknown half-sister, Kieran, remarkably the same age as Delilah when she was abducted, who is so obsessed with missing children she cuts their faces off of milk cartons and has every fact about them memorized. Tish tackles another interesting subject here: Does being raised by a hippie Mom automatically make you a free spirit or does it force you to become an adult way before your time and miss out on your childhood altogether? Let's talk about that, too.

There is Adam, a possible love interest for Delilah, brilliant but wounded...I do not want to give too much away about him but let's just say he's a very unique guy as well with some very fascinating quirks and talent.

Then we have Lichty, the eccentric art instructor whose personality will have you gritting your teeth more than once...a man whose claim to fame is that he is related to the great pop artist, Roy Lichtenstein.

Even a coyote named Slash (loved that!) has a significant role - you will actually find yourself rooting for Slash, and if you are like me, you will google coyotes and learn stuff like this.

In Delilah, though, Tish has created a character we love from the very start of the book.

"Look at me - I can fly!" she says at age 8, before the abduction.

But as Tish deftly switches between past and present (going back and forth to Delilah at age 8 in 1996 when the abduction takes place to the present time), and she is a master at seamless transition from chapter to chapter, we are overwrought at Delilah's lack of confidence in her art and her inability to let people really touch her or come close. We see her clearly, how she dresses...Tish is also a stickler for detail and tell me you can't visualize Delilah standing directly in front of you as you read...even in the way she shows her anger at her father by simple yet very telling act of revenge: dumping a can of corn niblets into the trash because they were her father’s favorite food

As you read on, there is building suspense as the story is told slowly and carefully from both Delilah and Victor's point of view, which, as an author, I can tell you is almost impossible to pull off and Tish did that beautifully, too, but just when you are sure you know how this book will end, you will find you are wrong. Nothing in Delilah Blue is stereotypical or predictable.

So. You have the official HarperCollins blurb, you've read what others think, and now you have my take on this wonderful, wonderful book. Let's talk! And authors, artists, whoever you are...please fully identify yourself and provide links to your websites, blogs, or any other outlets where we can find your work so that your mom..or dad...will be proud of you, wherever they may be...whether they are still with us or somewhere out there in the great unknown. And who may be my next celebrity book (or music) club "victim".

But before I end this post, let me again post the book trailer, because it's just too awesome for words.


Jessica Keener said...

You’ve blown me away with your questions. And, I’m afraid I couldn’t begin to answer them here without writing two more novels. But here’s what I can say about Tish’s writing-- how much I admire her ability to slice into the heart of disturbing matters in a straightforward, polished style.
Readers, don’t be fooled!!
The Truth about Delilah Blue is provocative and tricky and deft-- precisely because of these questions Tish’s story raises. She manages to balance a situation that is strung tight with loss, grief and outrage; yet she never abandons her compassion for her characters. It would be easy to do that but she resists. I personally love the exactness of detail in her writing. “The smell of asphalt and dandelions” and “Fireflies in applesauce jars”—so evocative of the summer day she is resurrecting for the reader—conjuring up a false tranquility before a storm of emotions ensues.
Here’s another opening sentence that amazes me for all the sensations embedded in one snappy line: “The only thing that stood between Lila’s naked body and twenty-seven art students was a stiff brown robe that reeked of every petrified model that had come before her.” This one description of a stiff brown robe perfectly manifests the story’s predicament—Why? The robe is overused, it’s been uncared for, it’s not pretty, it’s supposed to protect but it does so unpleasantly and in a way that causes the protagonist great discomfort. All these attributes capture the very essence of what Delilah, our heroine, has endured for too long in her young life.
Tish masterfully conveys layers of meaning, character and story in one, simple descriptive phrase.
Well done!

RobinSlick said...

Jessica, your comments are so dead on! And you've mentioned some of my own favorite lines from the book...funny, I started to include them in my review but realized I was finding dialogue and descriptive phrases on every page I wanted to use so the task became impossible.

I remember another talented friend of mine talking about a pretty famous writing workshop she took one summer - I don't remember if it was Rick Bass or Charles Baxter...someone like that taught the course...anyway, after reading my friend's work, he remarked "You can't teach someone to write like are born with this talent." Can you imagine getting a compliment like that? Wow.

That's Tish. The words flow effortlessly yet every sentence is full of emotion, of a deeper meaning. It's easy to see why her books translate to film because while you are reading, you are so in that scene, so in the room with her characters, it's almost surreal.

Your thoughts on the book are lovely, Jessica, and I thank you for sharing them. And like I said, oh how I agree!

I understand that maybe some people who have read Delilah Blue may not want to address the parental questions I've put forth, so please feel free to share whatever thoughts you might have regarding this incredible book. And conversely, if you haven't read the book yet but would like to reflect on your relationship with your mother/father and how they have influenced the person you are today, I encourage you to do that as well.


LitPark said...

Ooh, I want to jump into this conversation because I was captivated with both the young Delilah, wearing wire wings and pumping the pedals on her bike, and the older Lila with a crick in her neck from holding her nude modeling pose--the only way she knows how to take a college art class for free. And throughout the book, you see the impact of being rejected by your own mother, which is all the more complicated when you discover you were never rejected at all but kidnapped and lied to (and by someone you adore)!

But I want to address something in the book that just kind of hit a soft spot lots of us know well. Because there are artists in this book, you see them working away at their craft, never certain if they're good enough to ever break through. Somehow Tish captured that ache so well, it held just as much weight as that ache created by the loss of her mother.

RobinSlick said...

Sue, you definitely hit on another major theme running through this book, and as a writer, I reflected on that as well. What decent writer/artist ever really believes his/her work is brilliant? We are all so insecure and neurotic, and combine that with growing up feeling you were so unworthy, your own mother didn't want The interesting thing about Delilah is that you have initial impressions when you first begin reading, like, hey, this is a really good book, you are lulled into the idea, given the advertising, that it's a "beach read" with fun characters, and light, witty dialogue..and then as you read on, you realize it's SO much more...and by the time you are finished, you just sit back and go Oh my God, that was so freaking brilliant, I cannot believe I personally know the woman who wrote this! And then this book stays with you for days and days afterward...maybe forever. I was thinking that when I first attempted to pull out lines I loved and found so many I couldn't do it, I really wanted to read the entire book again, so that I could slowly savor it. So that's the plan, and I think that's the highest compliment you can pay an author, don't you?

LitPark said...

Speaking of pulling out lines, there's a bit on phobias that I just loved:

"It was wrong to have a head full of statistics at such a time. To be worried about a disease she'd never catch. There was something almost minuscule about her, despite being eleven feet tall whenever her mother appeared. Why did her mind do that--cloud the brain with minutiae the moment her world started spinning backward on its axis?"

And, of course, the scene of the father trying to buy the puppy just kind of breaks you.

RobinSlick said...

Oh God, I loved that line and I don't have to tell you how much I related.

Victor and the puppy made me cry. But ask Tish how many times I wrote to her while I was reading: "Please assure me Slash doesn't eat the dog" and she was so sly, she didn't write back. I was so worried about that puppy it was ridiculous. Tish, if you are reading this, don't you dare blame it on your blackberry :) Ha! So I'm not giving any spoilers here, but I was able to finish the book smiling and still mentally stable...well, mentally stable for me, which is not saying much, but you know what I mean...

Gina Frangello said...

I haven't read this book yet, but now I'm definitely going to! In addition to all the provocative questions, I'm also reminded, thematically, of Emily St. John Mandel's eerie novel LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL, about a girl who once "disappeared" and has to come to terms with finally remembering the circumstances around that. I loved that novel, and this one sounds completely intriguing! It also sounds very "intimate," if that makes sense, and I love books like that--too many works of fiction seem strangely impersonal and distanced these days.

Tish Cohen said...

Okay, this is about the most gorgeous review I have ever seen let alone had and the more I read, the more I need to slap myself because you cannot possibly be saying these lovely things about me or my book.

Thank you, Robin Slick.

I wanted to say something about growing up without a mother. It's how I grew up--my mum lived in Canada and I lived in California with my dad (thought I wasn't abducted). I think I lived something close to the life Lila thought she was leading, actually, and can say firsthand that growing up motherless breaks you on some level.

There is a scene in the book, a memory, where Lila thinks she sees her mother in a crowd on TV. That came from life: twelfth grade history class, substitute teacher who let us watch the Angels/Montreal Expos game. I actually told kids around me it was my mother on the screen. The class got all excited but I knew it wasn't.

Jessica - interesting the robe struck you. It's a thing that she uses to hide herself and is significant of the vulnerability she is about to face. That decision to model nude will ultimately blow apart her world.

Sue - as writers, we know that ache well, don't we? I lived with it as an artist years back as well. But it's what drives us. I think we need it.

Gina - I appreciate your interest and hope you enjoy the book.

Rob - I adore you.

Patry Francis said...

Slash and the puppy are such wonderful "characters"--one a "predator," the other well, a PUPPY! What could be more vulnerable? That Tish is able to make us love Slash even as we fear that he may kill what we want to protect most says much about her power as a writer.

But the brilliance lies in her ability to simultaneously create empathy for all her characters while remaining unflinchingly honest about their shortcomings. Even the most predatory among them (alternately Elizabeth, and to a lesser degree, Victor) are as wounded and displaced as Slash in their own way.

I wept through much of this novel--not just because my mother has Alzheimer's, and Tish gets this devastating disease so right--while never abandoning her cathartic humor. No, I think what really got to me is that increasingly, I feel my most loving of mothers detaching from me in some essential way. As an adult,, I'm just learning what the courageous Lila was forced to deal with all her life.

My admiration for her as a character and for her intrepid, sensitive large hearted creator is immense.

RobinSlick said...

Thanks so much, Gina! Well, I'm going to leave this post up indefinitely so if you do have a chance to read Delilah in the next couple of weeks, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Trust me, you will fall in love. I haven't read Last Night in Montreal, I will put it on my list, but what I am reading right now is your brilliant new collection, Slut Lullabies, which is blowing me away. It's described as "an exploration of the power dynamics of gender, class, and sexuality" and to read more about it, visit Gina's website right here:

Slut Lullabies will be getting the Celebrity Book Club Treatment in the upcoming weeks...I can't wait!

RobinSlick said...

Patry, yes, you make very astute comments and I am in total agreement. I love how Delilah brings so much to the table for all of us in so many different ways. What you write here tears me up:

"But the brilliance lies in her ability to simultaneously create empathy for all her characters while remaining unflinchingly honest about their shortcomings. Even the most predatory among them (alternately Elizabeth, and to a lesser degree, Victor) are as wounded and displaced as Slash in their own way."

And what you say about your own mom in discussing her battle with Alzheimers: "I feel my most loving of mothers detaching from me in some essential way" made me tear up as well.

Thank you so much for commenting, and a little birdie told me that she read your new book and says it just might be up there with the best novels she's ever read. And if people reading this have never visited Patry's blog...whoa...are you in for a treat. Visit her website right here:

RobinSlick said...

Tish, it was a pleasure and I'll have much, much more to say to you as we discuss the book further.

But you made me blush..xo

RobinSlick said...

I also want to comment that Susan Henderson of LitPark just got a brilliant review of her about to be released novel, Up From the Blue. Nora Rawlinson, who is VP of library services at Time Warner and was the former editor of Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal, says she's "obsessed" with her book. Read and listen to what Ms. Rawlinson has to say about Sue's book right here:

Also, thanks to another brilliant friend of mine, Ellen Meister, for the shout out in her blog this week, and I cannot wait to read and review Ellen's book, The Other Life, which will be published by Knopf in January of 2011. If you aren't familiar with Ellen's work, visit her website, which will take you to her blog, right here:

Gina Frangello said...

Oh, Robin (and anyone reading), you must check out LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL and also Mandel's second book, THE SINGER'S GUN. Just brilliant stuff.

And I'm finishing Sue's UP FROM THE BLUE right now! I'd read the first half and then gotten derailed by work, and it's been haunting me the whole while, so I'm so happy (well, not sure "happy" is the right word when talking about this book, but . . ) to get back to it. I keep reading it with a pit in my stomach, but it's so achingly beautiful too.

LitPark said...

You are too lovely for that. Thank you. xo

Ellen said...

I am SALIVATING to read this book! In fact, I bought and put it in my reading pile even though my schedule is so horrific I won't be able to get to it for weeks (if I'm lucky). For now it sits there tempting me ...

Don't know if I can wait!

And Rob. Thanks for the shout-out on THE OTHER LIFE. Just one thing. My editor at Putnam might be distressed to learn the book is coming out from Knopf. Ha!!!!

Just teasing. No worries. You're the bomb.


RobinSlick said...

Gina, hopefully by now you are smiling big time and that's all I'm saying.

Ellen, thanks so much and trust me, you are going to LOVE this book. And how the hell did I screw up the name of your publisher? I'll go in now and edit it. Gah! Meanwhile, I can't wait to have a copy of your book in my hands. I saw your FB post about your 12 year old daughter finding a typo and calling you her favorite made me teary eyed. xo

RobinSlick said...

Oh, d'oh, I made the comment about "Knopf" being Ellen's publisher here in comments, where you can't edit unless you delete and start over. Blech. Just to reiterate, Ellen's brilliant novel, The Other Life, will be published this coming January by PUTNAM.


Caroline Leavitt said...

I loved this book. I also felt that the depiction of what it is to be an artist--the self-doubt, the insecurity--was achingly true. And as someone who grew up without a father (well, he was there, but he was never there, and when he was, it was clear he wanted nothing to do with me or my sister), that aching feeling never really goes away. How can you not think it's your fault somehow?

It's lovely to hear other books and authors I adore mentioned. Sue's book is exquisite and Gina's knocked me out. And may I say that Jessica's novel in progress is also quite incredible. It's really an honor to be in this company.


Marcy Dermansky said...

I also loved this book. Read it, like I was supposed to, on the beach, one weekend in Cape Cod. I think I was most captivated by Lila's relationship with her sister Kieran.

Lila has every reason to be insanely jealous of that little girl, to hate her even. Even if that's irrational. Because her strange newly discovered little sister got to grow up with the mother she was robbed of.

But Lila doesn't hate her. Instead, she sees a little girl obsessed with missing children on milk boxes and wants to protect her. The perfect end of the book circles back to Lila's relationship with her little sister -- and her need to protect her. It was very, very moving -- and I loved Lila more for it than I already did. Or Delilah. I loved her, too.

RobinSlick said...

Ha ha, Caroline and I had the same childhood. Thanks so much for your thoughts! It's really interesting to me how we all identify with someone in this book and have zeroed in on different levels we were affected by it. Marcy, you make a whole new point about Keiran. You're right. And I did expect Lila to have some resentment...I loved how Tish handled their relationship. You just couldn't hate anyone in this book...well, maybe except for neighbor boy :). I don't want to say much more without giving away the ending but I sat there with a box of tissues -- in a good way.

In case readers aren't familiar with Caroline, she is an absolutely brilliant writer, and her upcoming novel, Pictures of You, will be released November 2 by Algonquin Books. I just finished the Advance Review Copy (or ARC), and I cannot wait to review this book in the fall!

Visit Caroline on the web at She keeps a cool blog, too, and weird, her house looks like mine, too. (Man, this is strange. We both have long curly hair, dress all in black, too)

Marcy's brand new novel is Bad Marie, and I'll be talking about her book in a few weeks. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Visit Marcy's cyberhome at

Ariel Leve said...

I rarely to never comment on blogs but I trust Robin's taste and I am intrigued. I have not read this book yet but I will.

LitPark said...

Robin, I was about to ask you if you've read Bad Marie yet, and I'm so glad you have!

And how cool to have Ariel here! Did you know a bunch of us were huddled around your book (It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me) and reading passages of it to each other out loud?

RobinSlick said...

Hi, Ariel!

Thanks so much for commenting- that was very cool of you and yes, you will love this novel. I cannot wait to review your book next - the whole time I was reading "It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me" I was thinking: Wait a second, I am her!

Tish, you for sure have to read it if you haven't already. To say you will laugh out loud and see yourself in her is putting it mildly.

Sue, I did not know that! I wish I would have been there. Make sure whoever was in that group visits my blog the week of August 2 so that they can take part in Installment #2 of the book club where we will have a ball with Ariel's book.

I sat on the train home from BEA in NY reading it and shrieking with laughter, not caring what anyone thought. (And anyway, laughter is better than listening to someone for an hour and a half talking on a cell phone -- my usual seat mate on a train) Visit Ariel (who writes for both the New York Times and The Guardian) at and I have to add that when I just went to pick up that link, I laughed out loud at this line in her bio: "She is based in London and New York. For as long as she can remember, she's been worrying."

Oh, boy can I relate.