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Mercury in Retrograde: A Novel Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416598936
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416598930
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #898,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Three down-on-their-luck Manhattan women form an unlikely fellowship in Page Six deputy editor Froelich's formulaic—though sometimes funny—debut. Anxious socialite Lena Lippencrass, smalltown transplant–cum–intrepid reporter Penelope Mercury and high-powered lawyer Dana Gluck end up in the same former SoHo tenement building at low points in their lives: Lena, cut off by her wealthy parents, is slumming it on Sullivan Street; Penelope is out of a job after accidentally damaging her office's property; and Dana lives on Weight Watchers while obsessing over her divorce. But once they band together, they right themselves while helping each other. After an initial barrage of New York names and places (and an abundance of parenthetical asides), the novel eventually finds a breezy groove as it traipses through TV newsrooms, high-stakes partnership meetings and a fashion gala at the Met, leading to comically fitting results—and new love interests—for each. Froelich takes a few light shots at socialite Web sites, politicians in prostitution scandals, fashion magazines and drug-addled young celebrities, and the book's message of rejecting gossip and hierarchy is sweetly unexpected, even if everything else is by the numbers. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

It sounds like a movie pitch: Three smart, opinionated young women live in the same Manhattan building and band together to improve each other's personal and social lives. Mixed in is a heady dose of brand names, celebrity name-dropping, and working-girl dialogue. Written by a gossip columnist, this project sounds like the ultimate in chick-lit. Alas, there's plenty of "chick" but not much "lit." With such larger-than-life characters, one would expect that Marguerite Gavin would have a lot to work with in her narration. While she makes a valiant attempt to inject some sass and attitude into her delivery, ultimately it doesn't redeem an unsatisfying book. Fans of Candace Bushnell may enjoy this—others, beware. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

The deputy editor for the New York Post's Page Six column, Paula lives in New York City. Mercury in Retrograde is her first novel.

Customer Reviews

I recommend this for a quick fun read.
L. Abel
Chick lit fans and book lovers in general should heed the inadvertent warning in the book's opening pages and skip Mercury in Retrograde.
Michael Lima
Her three main characters are funny and endearing and wittily written.
Mary G. Longorio

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Miz Ellen VINE VOICE on May 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
While this book may have seemed trendy and "hot" as it was prepared for publication, the financial bust that followed the boom makes the start of this charming novel read like a period piece. Penelope Mercury, struggling newspaper reporter, gets sent to the wrong address while on assignment and her psycho boss starts a fight with her when she returns. He tells her he's giving the coveted position as court reporter to his cousin. Without meaning to, she throws up on him and, also accidentally, sets part of the newsroom on fire. She then "quits" the newspaper business. (Newspapers? So yesterday...)

The author introduces us to two other young women. Dana Gluck is a high-powered lawyer. She's already a junior partner in her prestigious law firm, gunning to be the youngest senior partner in history. But she's emotionally a wreck over her recent divorce from her husband of two years. Her hair falls out when she gets too stressed and she never dates.

Lena "Lipstick" Lippencrass is a socialite. She works at a tiny fashion magazine, lives in a posh apartment and spends $50,000/month on clothes. She's engaged in a frantic rivalry with Bitsy, the debutante who stole her boyfriend. When her parents cut off the credit cards because Lipstick hasn't married the man of their dreams, she rebels. Although Lipstick is an irritating character at the beginning, she makes the longest journey and the most interesting transformation.

The author takes about 90 pages to get these three together. Once they become friends and start helping each other out, the book becomes wonderfully engaging as each tackles the issues of making a living and finding meaning in life.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Daniel H. Hamilton VINE VOICE on May 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Author Paula Froelich has written a book that under other circumstances might have been made into the blockbuster HBO show "Sex and the City." But those circumstances would have had to include timing - she's too late; character development - there's too little of it; and writing style - her syntax is taxing to say the least.

Here's a quick quote which left me in despair of even being able to finish the book, and it was on page 10 of the advance copy. "It was pitch black in her room, thanks to the double-weight drapes that concealed the entire glass wall to the left of the bed, which led to her Parisian-style garden, with the exception of the faint glow from her laptop lying on the pillow next to her head." Ouch.

I really wanted to like the main character, Penelope Mercury, because she's a struggling journalist. But the tortuous syntax and thin characterization left me with a bad case of "don't care" as the book bounced from inane high-fashion babble to unlikely urban disasters, with very little in the way of compelling transition.

If the endless parade of designer label name-dropping that characterizes the "Sex and the City" movie floats your boat, then you may be able to shop your way through this novel and enjoy it. But if you are instead looking for some substance and some characters whose fates move you to empathy or even sustainable interest, you might want to take a pass on "Mercury in Retrograde."
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lima VINE VOICE on June 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Mercury in Retrograde opens with a definition of Mercury in retrograde; which, to paraphrase astrological terms, means that bad things are about to happen. Given that warning, readers shouldn't be surprised to find that Mercury is still in retrograde when it comes to Froelich's debut effort. The book fails on almost all levels. The storyline looks like it was put together by either a focus group or a marketing executive ("Let's see...most successful chick lit books have one heroine...let's put three in this book...it'll be three times as good!!!"). Making the storyline seem even more derivative is the presence of several scenes that seem to be echoes of similar scenes in other books. Unfortunately, they were done better in those other books (compare the harried television host scenes in this book with those in the Bridget Jones books). Capping this disappointing adventure is a strange "in-this-world, not-in-this world" writing style that Froelich uses throughout the book. This style involves dropping the names of real life celebrities through some of the text, and then using fictional celebrities in the rest of the book. I'm sure that Froelich thought that this method was a clever way of writing a thinly disguised expose. But, it comes across as though she'd only name those who wouldn't sue her for what she wrote, and come up with fake names for those that would likely sue.

The only redeeming quality to this mess is the character of Dana Gluck, who seems to be a real person with an interestingly complex personal situation. Unfortunately, she's the least discussed of the three main characters. And, those scenes with her are not enough to salvage the book. Chick lit fans and book lovers in general should heed the inadvertent warning in the book's opening pages and skip Mercury in Retrograde.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eliza Bennet VINE VOICE on June 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Spoiled, rich Lipstick has been cut off from her Daddy's money, long-suffering Penelope Mercury has to find a new job, and unhappily divorced Dana is slowly becoming a recluse. These three find themselves together in one apartment building, and begin a friendship through shared yoga classes. This is a good set-up that doesn't quite mesh like the author must have intended.

Jennifer Weiner (loved her novel Certain Girls) called this book, " ...a zippy, relatable romp... " It was zippy all right, but not very relatable. I was never drawn to the characters like I should have been, and the characters didn't have enough of a relationship between each other. Other friends, bosses, co-workers, and family came across as extreme, instead of just zany. All of the men were cardboard stereotypes. Still, I give this book a couple of stars because there were some comic moments, and it was easy to read. It was fluffy escapism, for which I sometimes have a yen. But this one wasn't meaty enough, in characterizations or plot, to satisfy.
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