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Marrying Mom Hardcover – November, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Goldsmith has hit a triple: in addition to the movie based on The First Wives Club and her recent novel, Bestseller, bruiting her name, she will have this funny, schmaltzy fairytale-cum-sitcom in the stores in time for the holidays. "Mom" is Phyllis Geronomus, a wisecracking 69-year-old widow who decides to leave Florida and return to Manhattan to help her grown children make something of their lives. The trouble is that her kids greet her arrival as they would a plague of locusts. Stockbroker Sigourney, nee Susan, unmarried at 40, has a sagging client list and is about to lose her elegant apartment overlooking Central Park. Entrepreneur Bruce, now out of the closet, fears his line of gay greeting cards is about to expire. Obese Sharon is married to a chronically unemployed loser. Domineering Mom will surely drive each of them over the edge. Their solution: to give Phyllis a makeover and a shopping session at Bergdorfs, put her up at the Pierre and take her to a charity ball where she can meet a rich old geezer who will both marry her and save her kids from financial ruin. The premise is pure TV farce, fueled by Goldsmith's clever dialogue and acerbic one-liners. Her takes on the relationships between parents (especially Jewish parents) and their children, and between the bickering siblings themselves, are on-target. Through events that escalate from the ridiculous to the preposterous, Goldsmith steers the principals to an ultra-happy ending and an inescapable conclusion: all families are dysfunctional, but every dysfunctional family is wacky in its own way. $175,000 ad/promo; film rights to Paramount.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
You can't expect authors to come up with a hit every time. You also wouldn't expect utter nonsense after such a well-researched, full-bodied novel as The Bestseller. It seems that HarperCollins pushed Goldsmith to complete her next novel so that its release would coincide with the release of the movie First Wives Club, adapted from her 1992 novel. Marrying Mom features saucy Phyllis, a retired New Yorker living in Miami, bored out of her wits now that her husband Ira has passed on--not that he was any barrel of laughs, as Phyllis continually points out. When she announces that she's moving back to New York to be with her three children, she purposely does not tell them because she knows how little she is missed. She wants to make up for the lack of attention she gave them when they were young. Poor mothering skills should not be blamed for creating these three whiny brats, though. Sig is lonely and living extravagantly on dwindling resources, Bruce is a gay man with bad business sense who cannot forgive his mother for anything, and Sharon is fat and miserable with two bratty kids and a lazy husband. There is really no one to like here, except perhaps the old guys the kids continually try to fix up with their mother. Mary Frances Wilkens
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