Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fun Cleaning Nabokov's House

Product DetailsRun, don't walk to your nearest library or bookstore and grab a copy of this laugh out loud entertaining debut novel by Leslie Daniels. I read it in a weekend and have been talking it up to all of my friends who have trouble sleeping at night. I simply marvel at authors who can come up with a subject that hasn't been done again and again and again.Or, I should say, a new twist on a subject that has been done again and again.

Barb Barrett is a woman you just can't help but root for. She's smart and snarky and sensitive and poignant, a perfect blend of most of us. When her husband says something that gets on her last frayed nerve, she doesn't think twice about grabbing her two kids and walking out the door. That's the problem, not thinking twice, not planning, not understanding that she's the city girl, the outsider in a small upstate New York town where the soon to be ex knows everyone and knows how to manipulate the system to his advantage.

By the time he takes her to the cleaners and the kids with him, Barb is in a funk so deep that you think she'll never be able to drag herself out of bed. But you'd be wrong. One day, living out of her car, she parks outside the kids' school yard to watch her little darlings at play and sees a perfect little yellow house with a for sale sign on it. Motivated out of her torpor, she makes a move to settle down and build a home for her children that will knock the socks off the snippy little social worker who is now sleeping with her ex-husband.

And then she finds the index cards. Hidden away in a drawer, an almost completed novel in the handwriting of one of the previous owners of the house, Vladimir Nabokov! The discovery boosts Barb's morale and sets in motion a series of hilarious events on her quest to earn enough money to go to court and win back custody of her kids.

Even though the plot is out of this world unbelievable, Daniels writes with such authenticity about small town life. Each character jumps off the page with recognition, from the concerned mail carrier whose wife just happens to be a publicist, to the washed up, middle aged sports icon who now runs the sharpest rowing crew at the local college. This book is filled with so much humanity, so much truth about the foibles, the best and worst in all of us.

 I simply sighed with satisfaction throughout as Daniels hit me with one perfect metaphor after another. I'm envious and half in love with an author who can do this. Vladimir Nabokov isn't the only one who can pen a perfect novel! Learn more about Ms. Daniels:

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