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Going Away Party Hardcover – April 1, 2001
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
From Publishers Weekly
A successful stand-up comedian (and a Wall Street millionaire, according to her publisher), Pedersen shows off her verbal buoyancy but fails to construct a coherent plot in this lightweight coming-of-age novel. Narrator Jessica MacGuire suffers from a bad case of late-adolescent angst. The summer after her last year of college finds her living at home, supported by her parents, and studying for the calculus test she must pass in order to get her degree. No sooner does the rest of her family depart for a weeklong vacation, leaving Jess alone to buckle down for the exam, than middle-aged widower Denny Sinclair knocks on the door; he tells Jess he once lived in the house and wants to look around. A look leads to a drink, which leads to another and another. During a week of alcoholic haze, Jess manages to pass calculus, find a good job, reassess an old romance, discover a few surprises about Denny and her mother and, finally, grow up. Most of the novel consists of dialogue between Jess and Denny--sometimes reading like a very long stage play. Their quips are witty, however, and so are Pedersen's amusing characterizations of the eccentric MacGuires. The story culminates in an unexpectedly funny and touching ending. Sentence by sentence, Pedersen's debut can certainly entertain; as a whole, though, it seems a chapter in a running sitcom. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
This first novel by Pederson, a New York Times columnist, nonfiction author, and sometimes stand-up comedienne, is a May-December slacker romance (or maybe the term is "hook-up"). Twenty-year-old Jessica MacGuire is home alone studying for a calculus final while her family is on a camping vacation. She needs to pass to graduate from college, but with no job prospects the future looms darkly. A knock at the door brings in an older man Jess recognizes as the local TV weatherman, Denny Sinclair, who's supposedly looking for a neighbor. Jess learns that he is a recent widower on the lam from his concerned mother and daughters and impulsively invites him to stay for the week. Thus ensues a marathon of late-night conversations, considerable drinking, and, eventually, protected sex, as Jess mulls over her future and Denny his past. Pederson has Jess's youthful, unenlightened voice down pat, but Denny's character lacks real adult insight and never seems genuine. The novel reads like an extended, mildly humorous stand-up routine, but sudden twists in the story line (snake in the bathtub, small house fire, Denny was once Mom's lover, etc.) that might be funny on a comedy stage seem artless here. For large fiction collections. Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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To make a bad story even worse, Jessica's mother had had an affair with the man many years before and he still carried a torch for her. It seemed imprudent and ridiculous for him to disclose this fact to her.
I didn't like Jessica and I found her quasi-irreverant comments about Catholicism highly distateful. In fact, Jessica was distasteful and I hope this is a self contained story. Jessica was for the birds.