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Going Away Party

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Overview

Jess MacGuire, an otherwise "good Catholic girl," invites an older man into her home while her family is away on vacation. Unaware that he has his own agenda, she makes it too comfortable for him to leave. Comic in spirit, but serious at heart, GOING AWAY PARTY stars a girl who is almost a woman and a man who just lost his wife. Together they find an unexpected bond, wit battling wisdom in spiraling interplay. This is a believable, hilarious encounter that no reader will forget. Destined for your list of ...
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Overview

Jess MacGuire, an otherwise "good Catholic girl," invites an older man into her home while her family is away on vacation. Unaware that he has his own agenda, she makes it too comfortable for him to leave. Comic in spirit, but serious at heart, GOING AWAY PARTY stars a girl who is almost a woman and a man who just lost his wife. Together they find an unexpected bond, wit battling wisdom in spiraling interplay. This is a believable, hilarious encounter that no reader will forget. Destined for your list of favorites, Laura Pedersen is an author of exceptional humor and good taste.
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Editorial Reviews

Laura Demanski
"Laura Pedersen exudes an irrepressible, irreverent spirit...in a book that lives and breathes in its snappy, unaffected dialogue."
The Sun
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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.
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 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586540104
  • Publisher: Story Line Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2001
  • Pages: 225
  • Product dimensions: 5.73 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2003

    Great Humorous Fiction

    My 20-year-old little sister was reading this while we were on vacation and she was constantly laughing out loud. I thought she was reading a joke book. So I took over when she finished. It's a fast read, partly because you want to find out if they do or they don't - but don't skip ahead! Turned out not to be all humor -- bringing up the modern problems of regular people, expectations of our families, and even rampant US-style capitalism. Why does money have to be SO important (or at least feel like it is)? Overall, a perfect mix of thoughts and laughs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2003

    Hilarious relationship comedy

    Found out about this book only after reading 'Beginner's Luck.' It's a much more adult relationship comedy, whereas the other would make for a family movie (though I loved it and that's why I got this book). A wonderful blend of serious soul searching and ruminations on sex and life mixed with original humor. I love movies and so I'd say it's a bit like Woody Allen's 'Anything Else' meets a much funnier 'Lost In Translation' (because of the younger woman meets older man). Bill Murray would be hilarious as the lead male character of Denny. Though it'd be hard to pitch this as just a fluffy romantic comedy. You'd have to add 'noir' to that. The ending isn't dark, but it isn't formula Hollywood either. Yet it makes sense and is satisfying (I won't give it away).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2002

    Thoughtful, Sweet, and Wickedly Funny

    I assumed this would be a funny, light read, based on the reviews and cover. It was. In fact, I laughed out loud in some spots and it brought back lots of memories of growing up. But there were some interesting things to say about being a young person in the age of hi tech and about finding the "right one." I won't ruin the ending but it was great, heartfelt, funny, and totally believable. (And sexy, too.) I've just finished the next book, "Beginner's Luck," and it's even better -- hilarious!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2002

    A hilarious book with tons of charm!

    My niece loved this book and passed it on to me. It was funny and also had some interesting and intelligent things to say about the current state of growing up, life, love, work, and the every day challenges we all face. I really enjoyed it. And though people in their 20s can probably really identify with the main character, for an older person such as myself, it makes us realize that young people nowadays have issues and problems that we never dreamed of. But it's worth reading just for the humor. I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud like that. Plus there was some good suspense and a realistic sex scene. In a few parts it's like a women's version of "Catcher In The Rye," with the same wry humor and quest for meaning.

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