In this deft, funny, and charming novel, Erin O'Briant creates characters whose worlds have split apart and now collide. Angie and Gloria grow up comfortably as children of enlightened progressives (though their mother is something of a doctrinaire feminist). Replicating the larger social pattern of familial affection and division, the sisters, now independent young adults, disappoint their parents and, even more vigorously, alienate one another. Gloria, the "glitter girl," is smart, ambitious, self-confident--and lesbian. She lives in San Francisco. Angie, sweet-natured, thoughtful, a bit recessive--has been born again as a Christian. She lives in Atlanta. Each enjoys her own way of life and looks with dismay upon her sister's. The parents look askance at both.
O'Briant skillfully contrasts the lively, style-conscious gay community of San Francisco with the plain-living devotional congregation of fundamentalist Christians in Atlanta. Her command of detail as she recreates each absorbing social world provides one of the many pleasures of the book. She has a firm grasp, too, on the moral life of each place. In particular, by means of a well-made plot, O'Briant neatly exposes flaws in each community--and within each sister. When Gloria and Angie suffer serious disappointments in their lives, each begins to overcome her pride and self-righteousness. Gloria, especially, out of affection and awareness of her own failings, reaches out to heal the division between herself and her sister. A mediator, a revelation, and a wedding help. This is a comic novel, one in which defeat, and even humiliation, prepare the sisters (and their parents) to renew their affection for one another and to grow into a more mature appreciation of difference. Gloria's fall from golden girl to glitter girl is especially amusing.