Loose Diamonds: And Other Things I've Lost (And Found) Along the Way

Loose Diamonds: And Other Things I've Lost (And Found) Along the Way

by Amy Ephron
     
 

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“I’ve never bought loose diamonds but the idea of them appeals to me, sparkling stones that I imagine come wrapped in a velvet cloth . . . ”

With her wonderful sense of humor, marvelously candid voice, and astonishing perception, Amy Ephron weaves together the most insightful, profound, and just plain funny stories of her life to form a

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Overview

“I’ve never bought loose diamonds but the idea of them appeals to me, sparkling stones that I imagine come wrapped in a velvet cloth . . . ”

With her wonderful sense of humor, marvelously candid voice, and astonishing perception, Amy Ephron weaves together the most insightful, profound, and just plain funny stories of her life to form a tapestry of a woman’s experiences from childhood through young adulthood, marriage, divorce (and remarriage), and everything in between. Writing with great honesty and exacting prose, Ephron gives us an evocative, engaging, and often piercing look at modern life.

Along the way, we meet colorful and unforgettable characters such as the Birdman, who invited Ephron when she was a young girl into his Spanish-style home that he’d magically turned into an exotic aviary. And there’s Honey, the Cristal-loving Southern beauty, who struggles in her affairs with men and who orders “champagne by the case.” Ephron also recounts the afternoon she spent with the infamous Squeaky Fromme, and describes what happened after one of the mothers at her son’s school rear-ended her car. Did it have anything to do with Ephron’s soon-to-be ex-husband? And through it all is Ephron’s mother, whose perspectives on everything—from shoes to egg cups—pervade this book, and whose alcoholism was a constant challenge, forcing Ephron out on her own at an early age. Finally, Ephron professes her lifelong love affair with Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, a touchstone and a companion in a world that always moves too fast and is sometimes upside down. It is an ode to a simpler time of elegance and style, and an incisive look at today’s times.

Throughout Loose Diamonds, Amy Ephron celebrates these memories and her friendships, as well as her romances and marriages, and the things that make life livable (such as her Filofax, which she would be lost without). She writes unflinchingly about the fragility and tenuousness of life, how fortune can turn on a dime and circumstances aren’t always in our control. She explores the enduring effects of parental wisdom, the complications and rewards that marriage can bring, and the intricate ups and downs of friendships—all with a quick wit and a delicate eye.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Novelist Ephron (and sister of Nora, Delia, and Hallie) has some colorful and memorable decades under her belt, which she gives a glimpse of in this essay collection. As a child, she befriends neighbor and famed architect Stiles Oliver Clements, who was the largest collector of tropical birds on the continent. He builds a habitat at home that Ephron visits during one magical summer. She briefly alludes to her mother's mental illness, but it goes unexplored beyond a mention of a teenage Ephron seeing her posh and polished mother duck into a seedy bar one day. In 1971, during the Manson trial, as an aspiring writer of 19, she interviews "Squeaky" Fromme, a Manson follower, at the "Family" ranch. When she goes into labor with her first child, she has the surreal pleasure of sharing her room with Elizabeth Taylor's daughter-in-law, with Taylor and her dog in tow. There's the considerably less glamorous, showbiz part of her L.A. life. Her second marriage produced a postmodern, blended family with multiple children from each spouse's first marriage. The book's tone is entertainingly breezy, but lacks depth. The seeming randomness and paucity of material makes the slim volume feel like a dry run for a longer work. (Sept.)
Booklist
“Readers will enjoy her poignant accessibility. This is a great women’s interest title, appealing to lovers of Ephron’s historical fiction and to fans of humorous essays alike.”
Jewish Journal of Los Angeles
The tales are variously charming, funny, poignant, and even hair-raising, as when [Ephron] finds herself spending an afternoon with Manson family alumna Squeaky Fromme.
BookLoons Reviews
Well-written, empathetic, and a joy.
Shelf Awareness
A frothy, lighthearted, often witty collection of essays about marriage, motherhood and the power of a good piece of jewelry.
BookRoom Reviews
Actively intelligent and utterly descriptive, Amy Ephron always makes you feel as if you’re right there with her feeling what she’s feeling and seeing what she’s seeing… Loose Diamonds is a sincerely-written book…that you shouldn’t miss.
The Daily Beast
In Loose Diamonds, Ephron offers a deeply honest and compelling look at the events that made her the woman she is today.
Kirkus Reviews

Sex and the Citymeets Erma Bombeck in this gossamer gathering of recollections from novelist Ephron (One Sunday Morning, 2005, etc.).

True to its title, the book flaunts the glimmers of memory that the author haphazardly crafts into vignettes detailing her bohemian-chic adventures in Los Angeles and New York—with an emphasis on the chic. Starting off as a wild child in the 1970s, she recounts swilling champagne with glamorous friends, buying couture from Saks Fifth Avenue and interviewing Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme at the Spahn Ranch. Ephron's most entertaining anecdotes date from this era, as she name-drops celebrity friends and shines a light on the inner workings of theNational Lampoonduring its heady countercultural years. Less sparkling are her attempts to frame her contemporary life with her second husband and five children as a Beverly Hills version ofCheaperby the Dozen. Readers may find it difficult to conjure much empathy for a woman who disparages Elizabeth Taylor's gigantic diamond ring as extravagant, but laments the theft of her own baubles fashioned by the likes of Tiffany, Cartier and Elsa Peretti. This theft, one of several that hit the Los Angeles area, understandably shook up the author, and the event functions as a sort of connecting thread for the collection. However, even when commenting on the serial burglar's habit of creating a different persona for each house, she fails to delve further. Accounts of the hostile mothers at her son's private school similarly fail to engage. While Ephron has enough of a sense of humor to keep these pieces from completely lacking in self-awareness, her writing too often skims the surface, even for comic musings. Likewise, the more somber essays addressing her mother's depression and Ephron's own experience with date rape are meandering and unfocused.

These bagatelles offer glittering diversion but little of lasting worth.

Morgan Murrell
“Must read ... goes back to her Los Angeles childhood and goes through her marriage, divorce, and remarriage.”
Claire Howorth
“A little gem... she is an expert at introspection as entertainment...the collection masters brevity and range.”
Julia Gazdag
“A fun and engaging read... the pages turn themselves...Not only do the essays stand up on their own, the overarching themes unravel
Annie Bostrom
“Readers will enjoy her poignant accessibility... this is a great women’s-interest title, appealing to lovers of Ephron’s historical fiction and to fans of humorous essays alike.”
Laura Shultz
“All of these fascinating experiences and relationships described in Loose Diamonds add to the richness of this loosely woven set of essays. Ms. Ephron’s thoughts on marriage, divorce as well as her ‘Tips for Women getting a Divorce’ are written with wit and panache.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061958748
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/06/2011
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.69(d)

What People are saying about this

Claire Howorth
“A little gem... she is an expert at introspection as entertainment...the collection masters brevity and range.”
Annie Bostrom
“Readers will enjoy her poignant accessibility... this is a great women’s-interest title, appealing to lovers of Ephron’s historical fiction and to fans of humorous essays alike.”
Laura Shultz
“All of these fascinating experiences and relationships described in Loose Diamonds add to the richness of this loosely woven set of essays. Ms. Ephron’s thoughts on marriage, divorce as well as her ‘Tips for Women getting a Divorce’ are written with wit and panache.”
Morgan Murrell
“Must read ... goes back to her Los Angeles childhood and goes through her marriage, divorce, and remarriage.”
Julia Gazdag
“A fun and engaging read... the pages turn themselves...Not only do the essays stand up on their own, the overarching themes unravel

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