From Publishers Weekly
Gracefully shifting her focus from short story to novel, Nissen John Simmons Short Fiction Award winner (Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night) weaves a charming tale with candid humor and a sharp eye for detail. Spirited and feisty Roz Rosenzweig and idealistic Nebraskan Edwin Anderson are as unlikely a couple as Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford in The Way We Were, but somehow they end up tying the knot in 1970s New York City. They have a daughter, Miranda, but the marriage falls apart by the time she is in fifth grade. Newly single Roz vows to "be the fabulous mom-who's-more-like-a-friend-than-a-mom mom" but has a hard time squelching her irrepressible Jewish-mother instincts. Miranda, a precociously sexy near-teenager, sometimes plays along with Roz and sometimes rebels she is particularly peeved when her mother starts dating her orthodontist. At school, Miranda proves to be a budding drama queen, and as she gets older, becomes entangled in a series of prickly relationships. She could sometimes use her mom's help as she fumbles audaciously through adolescence, but is too proud to admit it. Roz, concurrently coming of age, tentatively attempts to become the focus of her own life. Nissen's descriptions of life in New York in the '70s and '80s are spot-on, and she clearly loves the novel's characters even the least likable are sympathetic and forgiven their foibles. Astute characterizations and smart, snappy dialogue anchor an honest, funny portrayal of an inevitably heartbreaking but loving relationship. Agent, Eric Simonoff. (May 30)Forecast: Equipped with a stellar set of blurbs (from Charles Baxter, Ann Beattie and Chris Offut, among others), a fetching subway-inspired jacket and an enticing title, this engaging debut work has a good chance of differentiating itself from countless similar New York coming-of-age novels.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
When loud, confident Roz Rosenzweig meets quiet, Nebraska-born Edwin Anderson at the party of a mutual friend, sparks fly. Their courtship eventually becomes a marriage, producing the couple's only child, who quickly takes over the focus of the narrative. In Miranda, Nissen has created a perceptive and empathetic portrait of an intelligent girl who is a little too eager to grow up. A crew of secondary and tertiary characters keeps the action lively and acts as a chorus for Roz and Miranda. New York City, with its high schools, bars, cabs, and walk-up apartments, is also a significant character. From the opening scene on a front stoop to the closing scene at a dinner party in a Brooklyn brownstone, the sights, sounds, and smells of a large city are evocatively described, as are Roz's and Miranda's movements around the city. Readers who enjoy Elinor Lipman and the late Laurie Colwin will welcome Nissen's first novel, which follows up an award-winning story collection, Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night. Recommended for public libraries and all contemporary fiction collections. Kerie Nickel, St. Mary's Coll. of Maryland, Leonardtown
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.