Mars follows her memoir (A Month of Sundays) with a midlife crisis bildungsroman that is largely unexceptional, though not without charm. New Yorker Ellen Kenny, a 46-year-old ex-hippie, takes a side trip on the way to Montreal to visit her sister and impulsively buys a decrepit house with her credit card. This startles her husband, Tommy, and the effect that Ellen's sudden purchase has on their marriage encompasses the most interesting and touching parts of this novel. Less successful are Ellen's entanglements in her new small hometown: her friendships with two feuding local rednecks, Rayfield and Rodney; her temporary guardianship of her sister's son; and her strange dreams that inspired the house purchase and swirl with the secrets of everyone she knows. The narrative often resorts to silliness, camp (Rayfield nicknamed his obese ex-wife "Doublewide") and mood-spoiling stereotypes (Ellen's Peruvian brother-in-law, for instance, plays the pan flute on street corners). The clumsiness, however, does not entirely overwhelm the moments of sweetness and light humor, and though there's nothing that really sings, it's a passable story of self-discovery and self-improvement. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Anybody Any Minuteby Julie Mars
Ellen Kenny has a big mouth and a penchant for telling the truth, which is why she's just been fired from yet another high-profile NYC job. Determined to make the most of this unexpected free time, she heads to Montreal to visit her sister. On the way, she spots a tumbledown upstate farmhouse---one she's seen in her dreams for years---and impulsively buys it on a… See more details below
Ellen Kenny has a big mouth and a penchant for telling the truth, which is why she's just been fired from yet another high-profile NYC job. Determined to make the most of this unexpected free time, she heads to Montreal to visit her sister. On the way, she spots a tumbledown upstate farmhouse---one she's seen in her dreams for years---and impulsively buys it on a hefty credit card advance. Over her husband's protests, Ellen decides to drop out of the rat race and spend the summer living out her woman-who-runs-with-the wolves fantasy, communing with nature---her own included---in an effort to confront middle age and figure out how on earth she got there. Rather than peacefully tend her garden and puzzle things out, however, Ellen soon becomes embroiled in the exceedingly unique problems of two redneck, social misfit neighbors---an ex-biker and an aging chainsaw sculptor---while taking care of a narcoleptic dog and a child who doesn't speak English.
With Ellen's quest for meaning and her concern for the welfare of others driving the plot, Anybody Any Minute is deeply layered, heartbreaking . . . and hilarious.
While driving to Montreal to visit her sister, forty-something Ellen impetuously buys a farm in upstate New York, seemingly turning her back on both New York City and her lawyer husband. She takes up organic gardening and butts her way into the locals' lives. When her beloved sister suddenly must go to Peru, Ellen, who's deliberately avoided responsibility all her adult life, must care for her toddler nephew. Mars (The Secret Keepers) effectively navigates through the usual minefields of midlife regrets with her colorful and sympathetic characters. Funny and illuminating, this is a totally satisfying read.
"Mars effectively navigates through the usual minefields of midlife regrets with her colorful and sympathetic characters. Funny and illuminating, this is a totally satisfying read." Library Journal (starred review)
"In this charming coming-of-middle-age novel from Mars, a neurotic New Yorker loses her job and possibly her marriage when she buys a rundown country house...Whether she’s fretting about her weight or worrying if she is correctly quoting Kahlil Gibran, this ’60s survivor is a hoot." Kirkus Reviews
"Julie Mars, a fast rising author, has hit the mark in her higgedy- piggledy account of Ellen Kenny's summertime, cleansing "nervous breakthrough" in Anybody Any Minute...I haven't read such a fun and engaging book in ages. I found myself turning the pages like crazy to keep up with Ellen's madcap misadventures...Julie Mars has a knack for making the inane seem totally believable. I loved Julie's previous, more serious book, A Month of Sundays, but was totally drawn into this one. Once again I found my dreams in the work of the very talented Julie Mars. I've passed my mid-life crises (I think), but for a moment I really wanted to check my credit card limit and head toward Cornwall. The reader can't lose with this one!" Roundtable Reviews
"Anybody and Minute is deep without being onerous, a beautifully told tale of how lives that may appear on the surface to be falling apart are actually falling into place." Chronogram Magazine
"...a warm and funny exploration of middle age and its inherent questioning of life and roles and possibilities...a singular, thoughtful, and poignant work that looks at crossroads, choices, and new definitions of responsibility. Julie Mars is to be commended for her fresh approach to midlife questioning and for the absolutely delightful cast of characters she has chosen to tell her tale. I loved this book! I laughed. I smiled. I wondered. Anybody Any Minute reveals the heart of human connectedness. Brava!" Myshelf.com
"Part madcap picaresque, part nostalgic meditation, Anybody Any Minute takes on the regrets and readjustments of middle age, and delivers them up with Julie Mars’s trademark humor and gutsy style.”-
Jennifer Egan, author of The Keep, The Invisible Circus, and Look at Me
“Readers will be thoroughly disarmed by Mars’s charming cast of characters, including heroine Ellen, who brings to mind Lucille Ball. I highly recommend this entertaining yet thought-provoking novel.”
-Martha O’Connor, author of The Bitch Posse
“Anybody Any Minute offers a sweet and funny meditation on the challenges of ‘doing good and being in love’ in modern America. Julie Mars and her main character, Ellen Kenny, remind us that sometimes we need to let go of the illusion of control in our lives in order to listen to the deeper wisdom of our dreams.”
-Gayle Brandeis, author of Self Storage and The Book of Dead Birds
- St. Martin's Press
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