Posts Tagged ‘The Smart One’

Who’s ready to show three sides to her personality – the pretty one, the smart one, and the wild one?!?  This little gift package is based on the characters in Ellen Meister’s The Smart One (reviewed here).  It was interesting to read what you all had to say about birth order personalities and the childhood sterotypes we (sometimes) bring with us into adulthood. 

According to random.com, the prize goes to …

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2008-09-05 10:44:16 UTC

 … NICOLE!  Congratulations, Nicole; your gift will be mailed in the next few days.

Not a winner?  There’s one day left to enter my giveaway for the novel Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict; good luck!

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Monday 9/1 – September 1st!  Happy Labor Day!  Today I begin the LT Author Challenge, inspired by the Boston Bibliophile’s question last week, “who are your LibraryThing authors?”  A full explanation of the challenge is here; I’m still working on my list of books for the challenge, and will post it within the next few days.  What’s on your list?

Tuesday 9/2 – I learn more about LibraryThing in answering Marie’s weekly questions; what will it be today?

During the week I plan to post reviews for Debra Dean’s The Madonnas of Leningrad and Michael Greenberg’s Hurry Down Sunshine; perhaps a children’s book or two, as well.

Wednesday 9/3 – This week’s guest post for the Spotlight on Bookstores series is written by Lisa Roe, online book publicist.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is priceless; you’ve got to see the video clip that goes along with this post!

Thursday 9/4 – I’m the “baby” in the family, and still carry the weight of that nickname today.  The three sisters in Ellen Meister’s The Smart One were also given labels that they carried into adulthood.  Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for a gift package appealing to the pretty one, the smart one and the wild one in all of us!

Friday 9/5 – Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for two copies of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler; the winners will recieve the book personally inscribed by the author!

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  • The Smart One by Ellen Meister
  • Publisher: Avon A (August 5, 2008 )
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0061129623
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061129629
  • Have you ever read a contemporary novel and so connected with one of the characters that you could imagine him/her as a friend?  That’s the way I feel about Bev, the main character in Ellen Meister’s The Smart One.  Bev is the middle of three sisters – the Smart One, eldest is Clare – the Pretty One, youngest is Joey – the Wild One.

    Meister writes in Bev’s voice; we read all the self-deprecating and self-doubting asides that are in Bev’s head, as well as share her outward joys and struggles.  She is smart, cynical and ironic – just the kind of girlfriend I’d like to have over for a cup of coffee, to wit:

    I never really understood the whole sitting-on-the-lap thing.  To me, it was about as sexy as getting weighed, and made me nearly as self-conscious … the more I tried to get comfortable perched on [his] thighs, the more I realized how undignified I felt.  It made me wonder if other women felt as I did.  Would Clare and Joey feel infantilized on a man’s lap?  Or would they throw their arms around his shoulders and snuggle into his neck?  I cursed the roll of the DNA dice that bestowed my sisters the flirting gene and not me.  Granted, I had gifts they lacked.  But what good was a talent for getting the fifty-point bonus in Scrabble when you were trying to score in a different way entirely?

    The novel opens as Bev returns to her parents’ Long Island home at a pivotal point in her life – she has divorced her cheating husband, decided to change careers to elementary eduction (after spending more than a decade in a series of entry-level jobs related vaguely to her graphic arts eduction), and is interested in relocating to Las Vegas in order to put as much distance as possible between herself and the shambles her life has become.  Clearly, her self-esteem is low.

    Bev’s parents have been visiting their next-door-neighbors, the Waxmans, at the Waxman’s “snowbird” residence, and have extended their trip to Florida due to her father’s broken ankle.  Bev is asked to assist with some maintenance issues at the Waxman’s home, as their son Kenny is unavailable, busy with his job as a comedy writer in Los Angeles.  In Kenny, Ellen Meister has created a character who is the perfect vehicle for the delivery of her best puns and wordplay.

    The novel centers around Bev and her sisters, but the extended cast of characters interact with the three women in a way that adds compassion, excitement and romance to the mix.  The discovery of a body stuffed inside an old industrial barrel is the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” in the long list of mysteries and conflicts to be sorted out.

    I have to confess that when I saw the bright “girly” cover and read the synopsis I thought, “oh, good, this will be a quick light read … I’ll dash off the review in no time!”.  Well, The Smart One turns out to be a deeper read with real/true personalities dealing with real/true situations.  Yes, there are light moments of over-the-top humor and some situations that seem less than realistic, but these lighter moments temper the tough decisions that Bev has to make as she finds her path to the next steps in her life – career, romance and family relationships.  Despite the cupcakes on the cover, this novel packs more “meat” than “sweet”, confronting such issues as infidelity, love versus lust, aging/ailing parents, the power of addiction, and the strength of the stereotypical roles we play in our own families.

    I was pleased to be invited to review this novel as part of the author tour on Blog Stop Book Tours; many thanks to Mary Lewis for introducing me to the work of Ellen Meister, a talented and clever writer!  I’m going to add her debut novel, Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, to my wish list.  If you’d like to learn more, visit the author’s website or check out other stops on the blog tour:   Mom Is Just A NicknameVirtual Wordsmith, Musings From The MittenThe Book Faery ReviewsMaw BooksFighting With WritingBook Room ReviewsPresenting Lenore and Anything That Pays… A Freelance Writer’s Blog.

    I promised a small surprise for one lucky reader – here it is!  I think that we have a bit of the pretty one, the smart one and the wild one in each of us.  I have a little gift package with a cosmetic bag (with mirror, perfect for corralling lipstick, a comb and hair ties in your handbag), a brain-teaser puzzle (should be a cinch for the smart one in you!), and some rub-on tattoos (that rebel phase isn’t permanent, is it?).  Just leave a comment about The Smart One (your take on sibling “labelling”, perhaps?); enter by midnight on Thursday September 4, I’ll announce the winner next Friday!

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    There’s still time to join us in planning “the week ahead”, and to enter to win a Page-A-Day Book Lover’s Calendar.  I picked up the calendar from our local bookstore, so I’m ready to send it out to the winner at the end of September.  Find the details here.

    A snapshot of what may, or may not, happen in my life this week:

    Monday 8/25/08 – To the Post Office to mail The Gargoyle to cheesygiraffe, the winner of the giveaway.  I’m sending my second (personal) copy to Kimberly at Fit at Forty Plus; Kimberly is unable to run (her passion) while she recovers from outpatient surgery, and really, really, really wants to read this book.  She has agreed to write a guest review for my blog and to mail back the book so I can read it … a win-win situation!

    Tuesday 8/26/08 –If it’s Tuesday, it must be time for Tuesday Thingers … I wonder what the Boston Bibliophile has in store for us this week!?

    Wednesday 8/27/08 – Whether you call it mid-week, hump day, or just plain ol’ Wednesday, in Boston it’s “Prince Spaghetti Day!” (Does anyone else remember those ads?!).  Wednesday means it’s time for an SOB – Spotlight on Bookstores.  Today Lori from Lori’s Reading Corner offers a guest post about the New England Mobile Book Fair in Newton.

    Thursday 8/28/08 – The Upsilamba book group, my friends in Connecticut, are meeting tonight to discuss Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank.  I was hoping to arrange a “field trip” down to see them, but it doesn’t look like it will work out.  The library has a copy that I requested, so I’ll try to read the book before Thursday, and maybe call in to chat about the book and catch up with those that weren’t in Boston for our “girls’ night out” last Friday.

    Friday 8/29/08 – On Friday I’ll post my review of Ellen Meister’s The Smart One.  I’m doing this review as part of an author tour for Blog Stop Book Tours, the first time I’ve worked with this group.  Click on the link to see a list of other blogs that have reviewed The Smart One as part of this tour.  Along with the review I have a surprise for one lucky reader, to be announced with the review!

    The Weekend – Best wishes to all for a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend.  Enjoy this unofficial last weekend of summer!

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    MizB over at Should Be Reading asks what books have come into our lives this week, here’s my list:

    The LibraryThing Early Reviewers’ mighty algorithm matched me with Hurry Down Sunshineby Michael Greenberg.  The book will be published in September, so look for my review at the end of this month.  Here’s a product description:  Hurry Down Sunshine tells the story of the extraordinary summer when, at the age of fifteen, Michael Greenberg’s daughter was struck mad. It begins with Sally’s visionary crack-up on the streets of Greenwich Village, and continues, among other places, in the out-of-time world of a Manhattan psychiatric ward during the city’s most sweltering months. “I feel like I’m traveling and traveling with nowhere to go back to,” Sally says in a burst of lucidity while hurtling away toward some place her father could not dream of or imagine. Hurry Down Sunshine is the chronicle of that journey, and its effect on Sally and those closest to her–her brother and grandmother, her mother and stepmother, and, not least of all, the author himself. Among Greenberg’s unforgettable gallery of characters are an unconventional psychiatrist, an Orthodox Jewish patient, a manic Classics professor, a movie producer, and a landlord with literary dreams. Unsentimental, nuanced, and deeply humane, Hurry Down Sunshine holds the reader in a mesmerizing state of suspension between the mundane and the transcendent.

    I was asked to review The Smart One by Ellen Meister for an author tour with Blog Stop Tours.  This will be available for sale the middle of next week, on August 5, so some of you may be enjoying the book at the same as I.  Ms. Meister’s stop at She Is Too Fond of Books will be August 29.  A synopsis of The Smart One: Bev is the Smart One, who finally leaves her artistic ambitions in chalk dust (and her humor-impaired husband in the arms—and legs—of his nubile protégée) to become a schoolteacher. Clare is the Pretty One, who married well and seems to be living a designer version of the suburban dream. Joey is the Wild One, struggling to stay clean and sober now that she’s used up her fifteen minutes of fame as a one-hit-wonder rock star. They love each other but mix like oil, water, and hundred-proof gin . . . a combination that threatens to combust over family tensions, suspected infidelities, a devastating accident, a stunning confession, and the sudden reappearance of their handsome, now all-grown-up former neighbor, Kenny Waxman, who’s back in town making his mark as a TV comedy writer.  It seems they’ll never understand where their differences begin and their own destructive tendencies end. Then it happens: the sisters discover a decades-old body stuffed inside an industrial drum and begin a bold, heartbreaking, and sometimes hilarious journey that will either bring them together . . . or tear them apart for good.

    And, I received a book that I won in a trivia contest sponsored by the author and her publisher!  I was excited to find an international mailing envelope from Susan Ronald, with her book, The Pirate Queen: Queen Elizabeth I, Her Pirate Adventurers, and the Dawn of Empire.  This came out in paperback at the end of June.  The product description:  Dubbed the “pirate queen” by the Vatican and Spain’s Philip II, Elizabeth I was feared and admired by her enemies. Extravagant, whimsical, and hot-tempered, Elizabeth was the epitome of power. Her visionary accomplishments were made possible by her daring merchants, gifted rapscallion adventurers, astronomer philosophers, and her stalwart Privy Council, including Sir William Cecil, Sir Francis Walsingham, and Sir Nicholas Bacon. All these men contributed their vast genius, power, greed, and expertise to the advancement of England.  In The Pirate Queen, historian Susan Ronald offers a fresh look at Elizabeth I, focusing on her uncanny instinct for financial survival and the superior intellect that propelled and sustained her rise. The foundation of Elizabeth’s empire was built on a carefully choreographed strategy whereby piracy transformed England from an impoverished state on the fringes of Europe into the first building block of an empire that covered two-fifths of the world.  Based on a wealth of historical sources and thousands of personal letters between Elizabeth and her merchant adventurers, advisers, and royal “cousins,” The Pirate Queen tells the thrilling story of Elizabeth and the swashbuckling mariners who terrorized the seas, planted the seedlings of an empire, and amassed great wealth for themselves and the Crown.

    Have any of you read The Pirate Queen?  Is The Smart One on your list to pick up next week?  How about Hurry Down Sunshine?  I love the variety this week – memoir, fiction, and history!

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