A Little Help from Above

A Little Help from Above

4.1 10
by Saralee Rosenberg

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Saralee Rosenberg's compelling debut novel, told in a warm, wise and endearing voice, is about sisters, mothers and daughters, and loss, sacrifice and love.

When Shelby Lazarus returns home to Long Island in the midst of a family crisis, she is forced to face all the issues from which she originally ran away—her mother's untimely death, her father's

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Saralee Rosenberg's compelling debut novel, told in a warm, wise and endearing voice, is about sisters, mothers and daughters, and loss, sacrifice and love.

When Shelby Lazarus returns home to Long Island in the midst of a family crisis, she is forced to face all the issues from which she originally ran away—her mother's untimely death, her father's second marriage, her sister's neuroticism, and her own life's path. When her Jewish mother cannot help but meddle in her daughters' lives from the afterlife, it seems all that Shelby needed was a little help from above. This poignant novel, peppered with some wonderful humour, is sure to hit the heart of the women's fiction market.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
In this situation comedy of a first novel, a beautiful but bitchy journalist undergoes a character transformation, thanks to some meddling from her long-dead mother. After two years of not speaking to her family, Chicago newspaper columnist Shelby Lazarus rushes home to Long Island when her sister Lauren calls with the news that their father and stepmother have been struck by a motorist while jogging. The girls' real mother (their stepmother's sister no less) died when Shelby was ten, shortly after Shelby's best-and only-friend Mattie moved away. Convinced that Mattie was the love of her life, despite the fact that the two were barely preadolescent when he left town, Shelby-at 38, a cold, snide, and all-round unpleasant woman-has never had a genuine romantic attachment. Lauren, on the other hand, is a nitwit who regularly flutters from one enthusiasm (including men) to another. Just now she desperately wants to become a mother. Problem is, she was a DES baby (a medical condition you'll learn all about) and can't conceive. So she asks Shelby to be her surrogate (surrogacy support info also included). After much hand-wringing (but no rational thought), Shelby agrees. And conceives twins. Almost immediately, Lauren's chauvinist-pig Israeli husband Ari deserts Lauren, who then falls in love with a widowed dad who doesn't want more babies. Meanwhile, the now-pregnant Shelby tracks down the elusive Mattie, who is married. But, hey, his wife is more unpleasant than Shelby and a Gentile, while his kid has Down's syndrome and some other vague but fatal illness. The way to a happy ending seems pretty clear. Throughout, Shelby's dead mother, whose belief that lives are predestined doesn't stop herfrom trying to manipulate earthly events for her children's sake, adds her running commentary. The credibility-challenging plot twists, loose ends, and inconsistencies would be easier to swallow if the characters weren't so thoroughly unlikable.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Little Help from Above 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
of-course More than 1 year ago
A fun quick read.
nomaso More than 1 year ago
I didn't care for this book at all. I found the writing style annoying and, as another reviewer commented, the characters were inconsistent and unlikeable. It was a fair effort but it missed the mark. Glad I only paid $1.00 for this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel was very funny and sweet. You can really connect with it. This is a sweet family story and a beautiful love story all in one. LOVED IT!! Must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I happened along this book one day and I just love it. The characters are so real and I could picture all of them. I could actually see this family. A really fun read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Please don't waste your time on this mindless book. It will insult you time and time again with ridiculous characters who are unlikable and inconsistent. I wonder if the author read this book all the way through. I'm truly embarrassed for her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once you pick this book up you won't put it down. Funny, still have a box of tissues nearby. This is a book for sisters, friends all women read it and recommend it to all of your friends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved it because it will capture you in the story and you wont want to put it down because it never has a boring part in it and it has so many unexpected suprises throughout the book its great I recommend it to everyone I love the book!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I laughed, I cried, and I was moved by the characters and their situations.There are real feelings here that manage to get resolved, and plenty of laughs along the way. You'll root for all of them. I can't wait to see what else comes from Ms. Roseberg's pen..plenty more, I hope.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reviewer: A reader from Chicago, IL Saralee Rosenberg's character development and story line are so vivid that I would love to see Shelby and Lauren come to life on the big screen. Mothers, sisters, and daughters everywhere...if you're looking for a book that promises to make you smile and laugh out loud, this book is for you. But don't let its whimsical nature fool you. Ms Rosenberg's sharp and honest wit keeps you thinking about a mother's work and how it's never done.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Long Island Lauren calls her older sister Shelby Lazarus, a Chicago Tribune reporter, that their parents were critically injured while jogging. Shelby, estranged from the family for two years, does not want to return home, but reluctantly does. In heaven the girls¿ mom had intervened with the estrangement by causing the crisis, but did not mean for her husband and his second wife (her sister) to be severely injured. Still, Shelby is coming home. Shelby notices that Aunt Roz (she cannot call her mom) has kept all her childhood awards and meets Lauren¿s second husband even as she wonders when her sister married. Lauren asks Shelby to come see their parents, but Shelby has never stepped inside a hospital since her mother died three decades ago. She learns that Lauren is a DES baby who cannot conceive a child when her sibling asks Shelby to become a surrogate mother. As other secrets are revealed that hurt everyone, even Shelby¿s mother realizes that her beloved family may need a higher level of heavenly intervention if they are to share a loving future together. A LITTLE HELP FROM ABOVE is a whimsical look at serious modern day women¿s issues. Shelby is an interesting character though she ¿kvetches¿ too much while the strong support cast deals with too many different crises so that none fully retain audience empathy. In her debut, Saralee Rosenberg shows plenty of talent with a plot that will leave her audience wanting similar tales (with less baggage) while wishing her mazel tov with her career. Harriet Klausner