From Publishers Weekly
Rarely does a subtitle describe a book so well as this one encapsulates journalist Sterba's experiences at the New England cabin of his friend, fellow writer and Pulitzer Prize-winner Frances "Frankie" FitzGerald. This is a work suffused with love of every stripe, from the romantic kind to the kind one might feel for a place, a way of life and a really good dinner. Although memoirs that arise from such contented sighs are sometimes overly sentimental, Sterba's journalistic edge keeps the prose far from mushy. It also makes for a strange yet delightful combination of elements. Mixed in with his tale of falling in love with Frankie are memories from his days reporting on Asia for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, thoughts about lobster and descriptions of prosaic events like brushing his teeth or reading the New Yorker. There are also some recipes that are probably best cooked at a cabin in Maine, after a bracing swim or a stroll through a town store that still sells penny candy. Sterba is a practical romantic who can dream away an afternoon on a sailboat but still hold a lively conversation about how tripartite boat ownership necessitates a consensus during an extensive naming session for the craft. As his relationships with the boat, Maine and cooking unfold over the course of one summer, so too does his romance with Frankie, all of it taking on the same vacation-like pace that's suffused with leisure but quickens with bursts of activity. This is a beautiful memoir, giving a glimpse not just of a person but of a time and a place worth noting.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Frankie of the title is writer Frances FitzGerald, and the place is her family's summer cottage on Mt. Desert Island, Maine. Drawing on a persona that is equal parts foreign correspondent and farm boy, Sterba weaves together a charming series of vignettes. His courtship and marriage to Frankie are handled with an offhand romanticism, as is her insistence on working on a typewriter and her WASP background (the man who coined that expression lived on Mt. Desert Island; Sterba's wife was once defined to him as "the quintessential High WASP"). The joy of blueberries, the rationing of the pleasures of lobster, and the holy war against mice jostle gently against construction next door, Sterba's rediscovery of his biological father, and a summer work ethic that found FitzGerald and Sterba at their desks seven days a week from ten to four. Sterba expresses a lively tenderness about all of this, and while none of it probes very deeply, it is very enjoyable to read. And he includes recipes. GraceAnne DeCandidoCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved