Easy Money: A Novel

Overview

Eighteen-year-old Jacqueline (Jay) Winbourne has gotten pretty good at taking care of her father, a widower. She barely knew her mother, and never really learned to take care of herself. She and her father live together in a ramshackle Denver house, struggling to make ends meet. Or, rather, Jay struggles. Her father, once a promising playwright, now takes wild chances in the stock market, hoping to strike it rich quick. When everything goes to pieces, she flees to New York to see if she can make it on her own. ...
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1995 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Clean and tight-unused copy-Excellent! ! Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 390 p. Audience: General/trade.

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NEW 1995, FIRST EDITION, HARDCOVER, BOOK, COVER AND DUST JACKET ARE IN NEW CONDITION. -79

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Overview

Eighteen-year-old Jacqueline (Jay) Winbourne has gotten pretty good at taking care of her father, a widower. She barely knew her mother, and never really learned to take care of herself. She and her father live together in a ramshackle Denver house, struggling to make ends meet. Or, rather, Jay struggles. Her father, once a promising playwright, now takes wild chances in the stock market, hoping to strike it rich quick. When everything goes to pieces, she flees to New York to see if she can make it on her own. But what kind of life can a young woman with no skills, who thinks she's mostly worthless, find for herself there? And what happens when she falls in love with a struggling musician too much like the father she's run away from? Easy Money, Barbara Wright's first novel, is the engaging story of Jay's search for what she needs to take care of herself when nobody else will. Like Mona Simpson's Anywhere But Here, it's the story of a young woman who's had to grow up too soon, and who must find in herself the strength to make it on her own.

Reminiscent of Mona Simpson's Anywhere But Here, Wright's first novel takes a compassionate look at a young woman who has to grow up too soon and who must find in herself the strength to make it on her own. Between her job and caring for her depressed father, Jay Winbourne tries desperately to hold things together--but everything's going to pieces anyway.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jay's memories of her mother are vague and fleeting. Growing up with her widower father in Denver, the heroine of Wright's first novel has had to take on the role of homemaker in their dilapidated Victorian duplex. When her father, an ex-playwright with his head in the clouds, loses their fortune on options trading, Jay, 18, realizes that she must look out for herself and so moves to New York to make her mark. There, two very different men begin to shape her life. One, a beautiful, self-destructive jazz musician who becomes her lover, sees Jay as a steadfast innocent. The other, a blind Korean academic who lives by measurements and rules and hires Jay to assist him in transcribing his third novel, gradually becomes a springboard for her intellectual awakening. Through Wright's understated and softly poetic prose, Jay's resolute character, with all its ragged edges, comes easily to life. Equally impressive is Wright's ability to describe simply and believably the emotional intricacies of developing relationships. Narrative shifts between Jay and her father's perspectives can be jarring, but this structural bumpiness doesn't detract from the strength of Wright's prose and insight. (May)
Library Journal
This is a quirky coming-of-age novel that loses its focus about halfway through. Jay and her father have lived alone together since her mother's long-ago death. Although still in high school, Jay is the responsible party, paying the bills and trying to stay one step ahead of creditors. Her father, a former playwright, now dreams of get-rich-quick schemes as a marginal stockbroker. When her college money is blown on one of his schemes, Jay takes off alone for New York. There she lands on her feet with a job assisting a blind gentleman and finds a dangerous older boyfriend. Jay is well portrayed, and her story is mostly involving, but the novel never quite jells. Recommended for larger fiction collections.-Ann Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
Alice Joyce
Jacqueline Winbourne is called Jay by her friends but Jaybird by her father, Jack. Early on in Wright's first novel the narrative takes on a certain predictability, as Frederick Jackson Winbourne's disastrous relationship with money obviously bodes ill for his daughter's college plans--plans which rest entirely on funds set aside years earlier by Jay's mother before she died. Although Wright portrays Jack as a caring if inept parent, this is ultimately Jay's story of breaking away. She arrives in New York City with little more than a high-school diploma, having had little experience with work or with love. It is no surprise when the resourceful young woman finds another man in need of her nurturing. Wright's story achieves a convincing resonance once Jay has a chance to process the experiences that have obstructed her path and blocked her deepest emotions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780945575634
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 5/1/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 390
  • Product dimensions: 5.29 (w) x 7.33 (h) x 1.38 (d)

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