From Publishers Weekly
Twenty-seven-year-old Benny Bernstein struggles with her weight, her insecurities and a sinkhole of family love and dysfunction in Ribon's compassionate follow-up to her debut, Why Girls Are Weird. Three years after her father's death, Benny has shed 50 pounds, built a life for herself in Los Angeles and just begun what might be her first successful relationship with hipster Mickey. But a distraught phone call from her mother, who lost her job and broke her leg in a car accident, brings Benny home to Virginia, since her younger sister, Jami, still living at home, can't be relied on. Back east, Benny discovers her mother's house has become an animal shelter, and she has three secret boyfriends and a red-hot sex life at age 53. As if that weren't overwhelming enough, Jami is dating an abusive ex-con. Benny hires a hot handyman to help clean up the house and finds herself enjoying his teases and flirtations while missing Mickey. Between her mother's eccentricities, her sister's stubbornness and her own self-doubt and confusing love life, Benny isn't sure she'll ever be able to return to L.A. Chick lit fans will identify with this kind, imperfect heroine.
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As in her debut novel, Why Girls Are Weird
(2003), Ribon's central character is a bouncy and articulate twentysomething struggling to find her niche in the world. Belinda Bernstein, aka Benny, has an art history degree and works in a travel agency in Los Angeles, where she followed her actor boyfriend, who is now out of the picture. When her mother breaks her leg and loses her job, Benny returns to Virginia to help out, abandoning her current boyfriend in the process. There she finds her widowed mother juggling three suitors and Jami, Benny's younger sister, "dating another gangbanger." Benny adds to this manic mix by carrying on a flirtatious relationship with her mother's yardman, who has a master's degree yet sounds like a hillbilly. Another mystery is why Jami keeps going back to her abusive boyfriend. Although several characters remain sketchy, there are lots of humorous moments as Benny attempts to untangle these entwined relationships. Deborah DonovanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved