From Publishers Weekly
Wintle, a 40-year-old, gay, obsessive-compulsive New Yorker, rescues his 13-year-old niece, Tiffany, from her Connecticut home, where she fought with her recovering alcoholic mother, associated with delinquents and feared her mother's violent boyfriend. He has lived to tell the tale and does an exceptional job portraying Tiffany as a complex teenager, capable of eliciting sympathy one moment and animosity the next. She drinks, smokes and dabbles in drugs yet sings beautifully, writes poetry and excels in school when she tries; meanwhile, he struggles with his responsibilities as a guardian while trying to maintain his own life and career (he negotiates book-to-film deals). At times, Wintle comes off as a martyr: "I'd turned into a nasty, abusive parent," he writes after a fight with Tiffany. Yet her behavior is sometimes so atrocious, one can't help wondering why he doesn't yell at her more. Wintle is balanced in his portrayal, and glimpses of Tiffany's softer side explain why he has taken her in. The lighthearted tone makes a serious subject amusing, and Wintle is charmingly self-deprecating. Although the ending doesn't tie up all the loose ends, the journey is eye-opening, and anyone who's wondered about the mysterious lives of teenagers will enjoy Wintle's tale. Agent, Mitchell Waters. (June 15)
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Failed-actor-turned-New-York-literary-agent Wintle undertakes the biggest challenge of his life when he agrees to serve as a surrogate single parent to his 13-year-old niece, Tiffany. Since the author of this combination memoir and de facto guide to nontraditional parenting is a self-described gay, obsessive-compulsive "drama Queen (yes, with a capital Q)," the book at first promises to be a madcap romp in an Uncle Mame sort of way but soon becomes something more serious (and interesting) as the author begins revealing heretofore hidden aspects of himself. As for Tiffany, what you see is what you get: she is 13-going-on-30, and her reaction to the word no is to fly into a scenery-chewing, expletive-spewing, door-slamming rage. No wonder one of Wintle's friends coolly observes, "Teenagers are evil, vile creatures." Of course, Wintle would have us believe they're not (well, most aren't), but with Tiffany as Exhibit A, he'll have a hard time convincing most readers of that. Michael Cart
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