Girls' Poker Night

Girls' Poker Night

4.1 45
by Jill A. Davis, Jill A. Davis

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Dissatisfied both with writing a “Single Girl on the Edge/ Ledge/Verge” lifestyle column and with her boyfriend (who has a name for his car and compulsively collects plastic bread ties), Ruby Capote sends her best columns and a six-pack of beer to the editor of The New York News and lands herself a new job in a new city.

In New York, Ruby

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Dissatisfied both with writing a “Single Girl on the Edge/ Ledge/Verge” lifestyle column and with her boyfriend (who has a name for his car and compulsively collects plastic bread ties), Ruby Capote sends her best columns and a six-pack of beer to the editor of The New York News and lands herself a new job in a new city.

In New York, Ruby undertakes the venerable tradition of Poker Night—a way (as men have always known) to eat, drink, smoke, analyze, interrupt one another, share stories, and, most of all, raise the stakes. There’s Skorka, model by profession, homewrecker by vocation; Jenn, willing to cross county lines for true love; Danielle, recently divorced, seducer of at least one father/son combo in her quest to make up for perceived “missed opportunities.”

When Ruby falls for her boss, Michael, all bets are off. He’s a challenge. He’s her editor. And he wants her to stop being quippy and clever and become the writer—and the woman—he knows she can be. Adding to Ruby’s uncertainty is his amazing yet ambiguous kiss in the elevator, and the enjoyably torturous impasse of he-loves-me, he-loves-me-not.

What happens when you realize that Mr. Right has his own unresolved past? Where does that leave the future you envisioned? Ruby knows that happy endings aren’t for cowards, and she hasn’t lost hope that there are risks worth taking. As smart as it is laugh-out-loud funny, Girls’ Poker Night is a twenty-first-century His Girl Friday and a re-freshingly upbeat look at friendship, work, and love.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Hilarious.” —New York Post

“Funny, sad, and full of perfect little truths. It’s one of those rare books that you read and think, I know that woman. She’s me.” —Laura Zigman

“Biting humor...brisk pace...hard to stop reading once you start.” —USA Today

“Davis writes like a professional comic, [with] witty prose and cute anecdotes.” —The Onion

“Fun.” —Entertainment Weekly

Publishers Weekly
When journalist Ruby Capote decides to flee boring Boston for the bright lights and hopefully more exciting world of New York City, she discovers love is still the same challenge it was in Bean Town. By turns endearing, funny and downright irritating, Capote ends one relationship with the annoying but handsome Doug and begins another with her editor boss Michael, all the while mulling things over with her circle of female poker pals. Rather like refugees from a bargain basement Sex and the City, the friends provide shaky support as Capote continues to search for meaning and happiness, both in her humor columns and in reality. Navigating the perilous waters of workplace romance, Capote wisecracks her way through until she discovers that she must deal with some real and poignant issues. Davis, herself an erstwhile newspaper columnist (and a writer for David Letterman), paints the newsroom universe and its inhabitants with colorful irony, while exuding empathy for single career women everywhere. Constructed of breezy chapters that often read like surreal "Lifestyle" columns, the trump card of this slim volume is its blend of humor and rueful sadness. The brittle Capote always has her guard up; she is quick with a quip and ready to run at a moment's notice the instant life gets serious. This amusing though somewhat dialogue-heavy first novel won't reveal the secrets of winning at poker, but it does teach an attentive reader that dealing from the bottom of the deck doesn't work. "You set yourself up for happiness or you set yourself up for sadness. Either way, it's your doing," notes Capote's therapist in an Ally McBeal-esque segment. Or in cardspeak: if you don't keep shuffling and playing, you'll never know when you'll have a winning hand. Deal. (Feb. 19) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Protagonist Ruby Capote leaves behind her job and her boyfriend in Boston when she lands a job writing a lifestyle column for the New York News. While it's not quite a sex column, the parallels to Sex and the City cannot be ignored once Ruby begins her weekly girls-only poker games hence the title and her six closest friends begin to contribute stories of their various romantic and sexual antics. These, of course, are retold in Ruby's column. However, Ruby is much wittier than Carrie Bradshaw, and the humor, though it sometimes serves to distance the reader, carries the novel. Ruby's romance with her editor, complicated by her abandonment issues, adds intrigue. Eventually, Ruby recognizes that in order to win at love, one must be willing to gamble again, see the title. This realization is a little trite, and the writing is a bit uneven and at times careless. Still, while this first novel by TV writer Davis may not be the first or best entry in the ever-popular Bridget Jones's Diary subgenre, it is a fun read. Recommended for larger public libraries. Amanda Glasbrenner, New York Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Five-time Emmy-nominated screenwriter (Late Night with David Letterman, etc.) debuts with a lackluster Sex and the City clone. Ruby Capote is a Boston columnist whose beat is the woe of single women. She oughta know: Her silly boyfriend Doug collects the little plastic thingies from bread bags and calls his purple Porsche "The Grape." Hoping to move on, Ruby sends tear sheets and a six-pack to the editor of the New York News, handsome Michael Hobbs, who eventually assigns her to the men-are-scum beat. He oughta know: he's quasi-engaged to a beauty, but obviously eager to hook up with Ruby, whose new circle of friends offers plenty of material. Amoral and gorgeous model Skorka prefers married men-they don't get attached and never leave their socks lying around. Jenn is an overworked factotum for a manically demanding media personality. Lily's never had much luck with men-is she a lesbian? Divorced Danielle just dumped her 23-year-old swain after discovering he's the son of a previous lover. And so on, through mildly comedic matters that include a vagina visualization workshop a la Eve Ensler-but Ruby has other things on her mind and can't imagine what her vagina would say or wear (if it could). Doug's been offered a job in New York, but that relationship is totally over, even though the clueless chump doesn't think so. A hallway flirtation and subsequent fling with a sexy neighbor, TV exec Tom, goes nowhere, which leaves only Michael, but he's her boss. Obligatory forays are taken into Ruby's past: the car crash that killed her alcoholic father; the adolescent crush she had on her shrink. These alone may not explain why her relationships with men are difficult, but when she finds outMichael's dark secret, she's ready to believe that men really are scum. The girlfriends concur, though Ruby makes up her own mind in the end. Some laughs, but very much the same old.

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

Happy endings aren’t for cowards. I’ve been alive for how many years, and I’ve just figured that one out.

I learned to be unfaithful from my parents. Not infidelity in the classic sense—but I was always prepared for the unhappy ending, which made me less willing to work toward a happy one. I was unfaithful to the idea of a well-adjusted future.

My name is Ruby Capote. Ruby Capote. I am Ruby Capote. Capote. Capote. Ruby Kiley Capote. Have you ever written your name, or seen it printed somewhere, and thought it looked unfamiliar? Like maybe you spelled it wrong or something? It used to happen to me all the time. But then again, I’m only the strangest person I’ve ever met. So much for a positive image, you may be thinking. But the truth is I’m kind of happy with the way I turned out. I mean, things could be worse. I could be boring. Or unhappy. Or, like, I don’t know, Canadian or something.

Imagine settling for a life you can have because you don’t have the courage to go after the life you really want. That’s what made me do it—make one of those decisions—the kind that bends your future in a whole new direction.

Every day the opportunity exists to change your life. But most days, the idea of having to change the big things in life just seems like too much work. Should I lie on the couch and watch a movie, or should I confront my personal demons? You get the point.

Anyway, I’ve done it. So I’m getting it down on paper, before the memory evaporates. Because that’s what people do—they move into their new life and disassemble the old life in some ungrateful way and leave it out by the curb. Like it never served any purpose at all. Like self-preservation is some frivolous little thing.

I met Doug on the six-thirty p.m. Delta shuttle from New York to Boston. I was returning from an interview at the United Nations Building. My subject, the U.N. interpreter for Moldova, who is originally from Back Bay of all places, didn’t have much to say. But I guess interpreters don’t . . . unless they’re interpreting. Anyway, I’m on the shuttle, and this adorable guy is sitting next to me. And when he wolfed down his peanuts, I gave him mine. And then when he finished those, the old lady next to me handed me hers, and I quickly, deftly, passed them off, like a baton in a relay race, to Doug. And the old lady and I smiled at each other, practically high-fived each other, as he ate the peanuts, like they were poisonous and we’d tricked him into ingesting them. It was cinematic, baby.

He waited until we landed and we were safely at our gate and the seat-belt sign had been turned off before introducing himself. His cautiousness was completely sexy to me. And during the walk from the gate to ground transportation, he asked me to join him for dinner. That brings us to where I am now. Kind of. That—meeting Doug—happened a few years ago. And now I feel like a refrigerator has fallen on me and I’m pinned underneath it hoping to escape but in the meantime my life is sprinting ahead of me, assuming I’ll catch up.

I really need to get out of Boston. I don’t feel like this all of the time, but I feel like this too much of the time.

For a few years now, I’ve been writing a humorous (their word, not mine) lifestyle column—single girl on the edge, ledge, verge kind of thing. I like it mainly because it’s all about me. When my friends get tired of listening to me, our readers get to read about me. A clear win-win—for who? Me! For the longest time I kept thinking, Wow, someone is paying me to write this? I’ve hit the jackpot! Then, once the flattery wore off—admittedly, this took an embarrassingly long while—I realized that the someone who was paying me to write the column was barely paying me at all.

So I made copies of some of my greatest hits and sent them, along with my résumé, to The New York News. And here’s the part that tells you all you need to know about me: The next morning—literally, not figuratively, the next morning—I was disappointed that I was not awakened by a phone call begging me to come to New York to take a job at the newspaper. I mean, the letter probably hadn’t even left the state of Massachusetts yet and already I was disappointed.

First, I know what you’re thinking . . . since when does The New York News print humor? Exactly my point. They don’t. This is the part where I fill the great void. No one even needs to be fired in order for me to start working there.

Tea Cozy
At work, I write my little column. And in my downtime, I read the wires to see if there’s anything strange happening. I’m a nut for stories about women who have cysts removed that weigh in the neighborhood of a hundred pounds. I mean, how does a person avoid a doctor that long? Not to mention the finger-pointing and not-so-kind stares of strangers? Or skydivers who mistake you for a target?

One of my favorites was about a “fertility tea cozy” that miraculously made six women pregnant. It raised all sorts of questions, and answered none of them. We put these stories in our paper when we have a two- or three-inch hole to fill. They are an afterthought. They are my favorite part of the paper.

For a while I saved these articles in an old Hermès scarf box. Then I got worried that I’d die and someone would be cleaning out my junk and find the box filled with odd stories and that would somehow end up defining my life. So I threw them away. For a while after that, I was a meticulous housekeeper, just in case. “Dead but scrupulously clean” is not such a bad way to be remembered.

A week goes by and I don’t hear anything from The New York News. I call, I am laughed at, and then am hung up on. Two weeks go by. I call again, and this time I leave a message for the news editor, a guy named Michael. He never calls me back. Three weeks pass, I call, am put on hold for three complete recordings of “Don’t Be Cruel,” and then get disconnected again.

Four weeks pass. I can’t bear to be hung up on again, so I don’t call. Then a fifth week passes and I don’t call. I’m in temporary love with Doug again, so my ambition to leave Boston no longer exists. I know, I know. I’m terrible.

I wait six weeks. Six weeks! No response. I’m thinking the envelope is stuck in the mailbox. This strikes me as the only logical explanation. I believe it so much that I go down to the mailbox and take a look for myself. And I take one of Doug’s golf umbrellas in case I’m going to have to do some prodding. Of course, mailboxes are designed in a way that prevents you from seeing inside. What are they hiding in there anyway? I mean, besides my résumé.

Not even a phone call to tell me that they hate me and my columns. How rude is that? I mean, couldn’t they at least call and say, “Look, we’re sorry, we hate you, but at least you won’t have to wait by the phone for us to call you and tell you we hate you because we’ve just told you.” I could respect that. But it’s as though I just tossed the envelope into the trash can . . .

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