From Publishers Weekly
In this uneven sequel to Eleanor Rushing
(1995), Eleanor is as entertaining as ever—her delusions about the intentions of her friends and acquaintances are painful and endearing—but is perhaps the wrong narrator to drop into post-Katrina New Orleans. Born and bred in the Crescent City, Eleanor is still waiting to be united with the married Maxim Walters and clinging to the belief that her parents died in a plane crash (and not in the car crash that left her face scarred), but she soon abandons her devotion to Maxim to pursue physical perfection ("z-plasty" on her face, breast augmentation, a fateful and ill-considered liposuction) and the sexy plastic surgeon, Dr. Ricky Kimball, whom she meets at a fund-raiser. Their love affair, however, lacks the intensity of her earlier, deranged one-sided fixation on Maxim. When Hurricane Katrina hits, the novel arrives at its emotional core: Eleanor is intent on riding out the storm, but she and a few other holdouts (including her housekeeper and confidant, Naomi) are forced to evacuate as the city floods. Eleanor's bittersweet homecoming lacks resonance, and though she is undeniably damaged, her self-inflicted ruin isn't the right metaphor for a demolished city. (Apr.)
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This sequel to Eleanor Rushing
(2000) finds our eponymous heroine once again deluded by her fixation on a man, in this case the unfortunately named Dr. Richard Kimball, a shady plastic surgeon. After undergoing a disastrous breast-implant operation (she wakes up during surgery), Eleanor refuses to listen to the advice of her friends, including her longtime black housekeeper, the hilarious Naomi. Instead, she schedules even more extensive cosmetic surgery, but her elaborate plans are deterred by the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. Nothing can persuade her to leave her beloved New Orleans, although she insists on moving into Naomi's crowded rental house to ride out the storm, and the two eventually decamp to Houston as the floodwaters rise. Although the novel's opening scenes are slow and somewhat fragmented in tone, the author hits her stride as her pampered, endearing, pain-in-the-butt heroine is forced to deal with overwhelming circumstances. Eleanor's loopy conversations with Naomi are the comic highlight of a novel that is also bittersweet in its depiction of the damaged Eleanor and her wrecked hometown. Joanne WilkinsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved