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Ruby Hardcover – September, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Picador USA; 1st edition (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312195532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312195533
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,528,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Packed with convincing detail and effortless description, Hood's tale of romance and loss mixes the venerable with the vulgar and brings the adult world into vibrant contact with adolescence. Thirty-seven-year-old Lower East Side milliner Olivia meets and marries the love of her life only to lose him, less than a year later, to a reckless teenager speeding around a blind corner. Weakened by grief and unable to make peace with her husband's killer, Olivia retreats to the couple's summer house, which is soon invaded by another teenager, this time a trespasser: the manipulative, precocious and pregnant title character. The relationship that develops between the two women?first wary, then needy, finally loving?is the substance of this rich and well-imagined story. With equal ease, Hood (The Properties of Water) describes Olivia dancing alone to a Louis Armstrong/Ella Fitzgerald duet in her St. Mark's Place hat shop, and Ruby, a smart, poor kid from Rhode Island who covets the sophistication and luxury she sees around her. Though Ruby sometimes seems older than her age, she is every inch a 15-year-old when she worries that her swelled stomach makes her look like John Candy and claims that she's had a sordid affair with her stylish French teacher. Hood writes with authority and humor, blending the moneyed scenery of great New England fiction with the sweet audacity of a paperback barn burner. Along the way, her observations about widows and divorcees, gestation and childbearing, fashion magazines and overcooked risotto make for disarming and ultimately affecting entertainment. Agent, Gail Hochman; author tour. (Sept.) FYI: Picador plans a simultaneous release of Somewhere off the Coast of Maine in paperback.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In the year since her husband David was hit by a car and killed while jogging at their Rhode Island summer place, Olivia hasn't come to terms with his senseless death. She's the "consumed by grief" poster child, disturbed that he'd gone jogging when she'd turned away from lovemaking that fateful morning. She's about to sell the summer house when Ruby, a pregnant, 15-year-old runaway, arrives on her doorstep. The teen's a hard case: sullen, deceptive, manipulative, pot-smoking, and a thief. But she's carrying what Olivia wants, the baby she and David never got around to making. Hood's deft characterizations and insight into tangled motivations make for brisk, realistic storytelling. She's Barbara Kinsolver without the whimsy. Olivia and Ruby, both troubled souls, aren't easy to like, and the ending's fittingly anticlimactic. The author of five previous, critically acclaimed novels, her Somewhere Off The Coast Of Maine will be re-released simultaneously with Ruby. Recommended for all libraries.? Jo Manning, formerly Reader's Digest Lib., Miami Beach
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

At page 43 I closed the book and said the hell with this.
jade19721
The plot outline makes sense, but the novel's progress is ruined by unlikeable characters and a poor grasp of realistic dialog.
M. Gardner
If this is a true sampling of Ms. Hood's writing, you can bet I won't be reading anymore!
Kindle Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amy Leemon VINE VOICE on January 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Olivia and Ruby meet under very unusual circumstances. Olivia is staying at a beach house that she and her husband planned to live in together. He was tragically killed and she is trying to come to terms with her grief. She finds Ruby in her kitchen drinking a glass of water. Ruby is 15, pregnant, and has no place to go. Although suspicious of her, Olivia lets her stay in her house and gradually they form a bond.
Olivia decides that the best thing for everyone is for her to adopt Ruby's baby. But will Ruby keep her word? Even tho she's only 15, there are times when she seems to think that it will be possible for her to keep her baby.
Their relationship goes through many stages from the distrust in the beginning to true friendship at the end. It is a marvelous book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I've read all of Ann Hood's books and I must say this is my favorite one. She captures the grief a newly married widow would be feeling and experiencing perfectly. Her portrayal of Ruby as a messed-up, needy teenager is also right on the money. I thought the characters seemed real and they stayed in my mind long after I finished the book. The only thing I really didn't think belonged was Oliva's relationship with Jake. She just suddenly went to his house (he was her lawyer)and began a sexual relationship? What about his "girlfriend?" I think he just represented her need to feel loved again. Anyway, beyond all that I give this two thumbs up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Brown on January 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Olivia, after a whirlwind romance and marriage, finds herself widowed. While she goes through the motions of living at the cottage she and David loved, into her life breaks Ruby. Literally. Ruby is as unexpected by Olivia as Ruby's pregnancy was to Ruby. The two form an unusual bond that is dysfunctional and supportive at the same time. Through out the whole book you continue to see how immature Ruby is and how foolish her choices have been and will no doubt continue to be. Though you hope she will get her life together, even at the conclusion of the book you sense she never will. At least Olivia is able to move forward throughout the story and become stronger. It is a compelling story to read as you try to figure out what Ruby will do with her baby, but it is not a particularly happy book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By MH on January 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In the book Ruby by Ann Hood, the main character Olivia is the one person who goes through many hardships, and overcomes them one at a time. First her husband dies when he is hit by a car. Then she returns to her house one day only to discover a pregnant fifteen year old, Ruby, sitting at her kitchen table. She takes this girl in, and the story goes on from there. This novel is sensational! Towards the end of the novel, suspense starts building, and you can't put the book down. Olivia is determined to get custody of Ruby's baby, but will she? Will Ruby and the father, Ben, let her do so? Due to some of the graphic content and adult language, this novel is more recommended for the adult reader. I give this book five stars, and will definitely read more of Ann Hood's books.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 6, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Ann Hood has a clear voice and tells believable stories about modern women in real-life situations. I knew I'd be in for a good read. I wasn't disappointed.
Ruby is the story of a young widow, still grieving for her husband, who takes in a young pregnant teenager. They're conflict of course as they each have different needs. And the conclusion is satisfying, if not perfect.
The book does have some faults. I would have liked to see just a few less scenes about the past marriage because the story was really very much in the present.
But it is an easy book to read -- a mere 225 pages, and it moves quickly. The characters are real and they drive the plot. And I was drawn into the story and held there for the well-crafted story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By merleivey@msn.com on August 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Hood is another Judy Blume. Ruby is the best developed of the characters; I especially enjoyed her monologues and creative diaglogue. Olivia, the main character, is the weak link. She goes off to her beach house for months, leaving her NYC hat business and means of livelihood. Also, I really wasn't sure she loved her husband until after he died. Then the grief is mostly expressed in self-pity. Teenage girls will fly through this book though, plenty of titilating sex and mockery of society's rules.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kimberley A. Enloe on November 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Ann Hood's novel about a pregnant teenager and a mourning widow was full of shallow characters and a jumbled plot. The conversations were simple and provided little insight into what each character was feeling. I forced myself to finish this book and was not surprised when the end was exactly what I had expected.
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Format: Hardcover
Ann Hood should be declared a saint by all married men (along with Dr. Laura since she published The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands last year). The main character in Ruby is not Ruby, is Olivia. She had been married for only a few months when her husband is killed while jogging. That very morning, when he tried to get intimate, Olivia shunned him away, and suggested that he go for a run. After his death, this is a regret that Olivia cannot shake away. Many a woman (including me) will heed her implied advice after reading this book.

So Olivia is devastated and goes to their summer house on the coast in Rhode Island to prepare it for sale. While there, she meets Ruby. Ruby is 15 going on 40, and very pregnant. Olivia starts fantasizing about keeping Ruby's baby, as it had been hers and David's dream to have a child. But Ruby is a bit of a con-artist, and the process is not going to be smooth sailing.

The beauty about the story is not so much about Olivia getting the baby as it is about Olivia getting a family. It was heartwarming to see the evolution of Olivia and Ruby's relationship, from distrust, to antagonism, to acceptance, to full support. I loved the ending.

I wasn't too happy about a few unsatisfying details in the story:

* David falling in love at first sight with Olivia, the milliner who sold him the hat he was supposed to give to his girlfriend on Valentine's Day. He gave her the hat and proceeded to break up with her. How shallow! I never warmed up to him.

* Olivia's unrealistic retreat to the beach house in RI. She has a business to run and an apartment in NYC, yet she has the means to close them up without subletting. Was she so independently wealthy?
Read more ›
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More About the Author

Ann Hood is the author of the bestselling novels THE RED THREAD, THE KNITTING CIRCLE and SOMEWHERE OFF THE COAST OF MAINE. Her memoir, COMFORT: A JOURNEY THROUGH GRIEF, in which she shares her personal story of losing her 5 year old daughter Grace in 2002, was a New York Times Editor's Choice and named one of the top 10 non-fiction books of 2008. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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