Rescue Me

( 6 )

Overview

It was the year she fell in love....
Fresh out of college, hungry for a shot in the entertainment industry, Amanda McHenry takes a gig as a secretary in the L.A. offices of a sleazy television talk show. Saddled with looking after her drug-dealing brother, Amanda is intent on making good things happen while her boyfriend finishes his law degree. She has no intention of cheating on him — James is clear across ...

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Overview

It was the year she fell in love....
Fresh out of college, hungry for a shot in the entertainment industry, Amanda McHenry takes a gig as a secretary in the L.A. offices of a sleazy television talk show. Saddled with looking after her drug-dealing brother, Amanda is intent on making good things happen while her boyfriend finishes his law degree. She has no intention of cheating on him — James is clear across the country at Harvard — until she falls for Gabe, her brother's passionate friend.
She had no idea her world would come apart.
Swept up in a whirlwind romance, Amanda realizes that she must choose between following her heart and clinging to the familiar, and when her brother's "career" threatens to destroy everything she holds dear, that choice becomes a matter of life and death. But then fate intervenes to tear Gabe and Amanda apart and years begin to pass. All the while Amanda never gives up hope that someday Gabe will return to rescue her.
Acclaimed screenwriter Gigi Levangie Grazer's stirring love story is set against the indelible backdrop of Los Angeles in the 1980s and captures its lyrical beauty and stark realism. Hilarious and devastating, Rescue Me is a uniquely suspenseful novel about the price of happiness...and the rewards of love.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Entertaining....Grazer achieves a cinematic intensity that will keep readers turning pages to...a storybook ending."
Booklist

"Grazer brings a Hollywood insider's eye to this page-turner."
Glamour

Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
Rescue Me, a "fast-paced, well-written, and entertaining" debut novel from a Hollywood screenwriter, details the "troubled" life of a young woman haunted by the memory of a man she lost long ago. "A little more brutal" than some of our reviewers usually read, Grazer definitely "knows the wannabes of L.A." "Completely enjoyable," said most reviewers, but warned of "the R-rated content."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Screenwriter Grazer's (Stepmom) first novel is an unconvincing love story set in Los Angeles during the mid-1980s. Amanda McHenry has just graduated from UCLA and landed a dead-end job at a second-rate talk show while her boyfriend, James, a Venezuelan immigrant whose duplicity and self-absorption are reiterated tiresomely, has attended Harvard Law School, intent on being accepted as a member of the Caucasian elite. While Amanda plays mother to her infant nephew Madison and her charming, deadbeat, drug-dealing brother, Valentin, she's also making ends meet and fending off her boss's advances. James pretends to be faithful to Amanda (they've been dating since grade school), but in reality he's having sex with any girl who might help him attain his social goals. The duped Amanda surprises herself when she falls madly in love with her brother's friend Gabriel, the caring, selfless man that James has never been. Love blossoms for Amanda and Gabe as Valentin disintegrates: his girlfriend leaves him, drugs are destroying his body and he begins to lose what's left of his mind. When James returns to claim his woman, a violent debacle occurs among now-psychotic Valentin, proprietary James and hapless Amanda, resulting in a melodramatic and implausible pact that binds Amanda forever to a stifling life as James's wife, living without love in upper-class L.A. society and dreaming that, one day, Gabe will rescue her. While this plot is perfectly formulated for a romantic film, the story falters on the page because of Grazer's torturous prose: "she cooked him a breakfast of cold cereal and milk"; "his pill-like nefariously white teeth violating her eyeline." Convoluted metaphors; repetitive, ungainly prose; unresolved subplots and flimsy character development make this effort an unsatisfying read. Agent, Jennifer Walsh of the Writers Shop. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Newsweek
Only a screenwriter could dream this up, but only a promising novelist could pull it off.
Kirkus Reviews
Two attractive protagonists are stuck in a B-grade first novel that substitutes sensationalism for credibility as it details their desperate efforts to live and love right in Los Angeles circa 1985. Amanda McHenry wants to write for television, and has a toehold in the industry answering phones. She also wants to take care of her nephew Madison, who is grossly neglected by his drug- and sex-addicted mother, Patrice, and Amanda's weird drug-dealing brother, Valentin. Valentin used to be nice, but once he took drugs he changed, and now he's dangerously creepy. He has a good, clean-living friend, Gabe. who falls for Amanda, but Amanda must first deal with old boyfriend James, a Harvard Law grad—and a killer—who also wants to marry her. Compelling it's not.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416507703
  • Publisher: Downtown Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,102,231
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Gigi Levangie Grazer

Gigi Levangie Grazer is the author of three prior novels: Rescue Me (2000), Maneater (2003), and The Starter Wife (2006). The Starter Wife was adapted for an Emmy Award–winning USA Network miniseries starring Debra Messing, and later for a television series; Maneater was adapted for a Lifetime miniseries starring Sarah Chalke in May 2009. In addition, Gigi wrote the screenplay for Stepmom, starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. Gigi’s articles have appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Glamour. She lives in L.A. with her two children and three miniature dachshunds.

Biography

Gigi Levangie Grazer has written numerous screenplays, among them the movie Step-mom, starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. Her first novel, Rescue Me, was published by Simon and Schuster in June 2000. Her next novel, Maneater, was published by Simon & Schuster in June 2003. The Starter Wife her third novel, was published in June, 2005. Her fourth novel, Queen Takes King, came out in June, 2009. She is a proud mother of two young boys, proud stepmother to two grown children, and proud auntie to three nephews and one niece. And yes, she is tired. Biography courtesy of Author's website.

Good To Know

In our interview, Grazer offers some tips for her fans:

"I like chocolate. A lot. See's, preferably. Bring some to book signings."

"I like margaritas. A lot. Patron, gold. Bring a pitcher to book signings."

"I like babies. A lot. Do not bring them to book signings. (I'm kidding!)"

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    1. Also Known As:
      Snoopy DeLongpre ("My porn star name")
    2. Hometown:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 2, 1963
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      Degree in Political Science, UCLA, 1984

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

To some it would be a distinctive scent, picked up on the breeze of a stranger. To others it would be a familiar smile, the crinkle of a nose, the slope of a peculiar walk. To Amanda Cruz, née McHenry, Encino mother of two (the Valley, yes — however, significantly, 2.5 blocks south of the boulevard), it was all about sound.

This hazy evening, with air heavy as an old woman's drapes, the deafening and insistent drumbeat of a Ninja 2X900 motorcycle shifting into first gear caused Amanda to drop an entire tray of stuffed Cornish game hens, rush outside to the curb, past the newly planted pink and violet hydrangeas and the (hideous) sandstone Labrador retriever, and back indoors, charging into the sanctuary of her separate bath to relieve herself in the cool waters of her recently installed imported brass-and-Italian-marble bidet.

Which, in turn, sent her little one, Tildy, yawling in terror at the sudden noise, to the stringy, Nautilized arms of her daddy; which sent her husband, James Cruz, rushing into gibberished explanation in front of the dinner party, teeming with various yet entirely similar corporate attorneys and their spouses.

Only Maddie — Madison, her son, her brother's son — did not get upset, taking in his adoptive mother's antics and his stepfather's overreaction with a bemused and exotic eye. Even at ten he'd lived too much to overreact to anything, except maybe death or the loss of a stolen skateboard with narrow glow-in-the-dark racing wheels.

Amanda sat in her bidet — yes, sat (she had no shame at the moment) — and lit a Marlboro cigarette, the real, no-bullshit, take-no-prisoners kind, the ones she kept hidden in the linen closet or behind the toilet or underneath the shiny brass sink.

She sucked in the shame-laced tobacco, exhaled its smoke slowly, and watched her reflection, covering her face in the gilt-framed antique mirror secured on the peach-colored, sponge-textured wall in front of her, her mind tearing away the days, like the images of a flip book, into her past.

As James banged on the bathroom door, yelling through gritted teeth, embarrassed and frantic over his loss of standing before his befuddled guests, who were well finished by now (it was eight-thirty, for crissakes) with their crabmeat rolls and feta cheese canapés, Amanda exhaled. The air came out of her like a death rattle, she thought ruefully. She took a moment to smile at her juvenile behavior.

And then she remembered. And the water rushed over her.

She took another puff, inhaling as deeply as she could — as deeply as her pink, overaerobicized lungs would allow (this sometimes takes a minute) — and leaned her head back against her peach-colored sponged wall. She closed her eyes.

"Amanda — you can't do this to me!"

Unfortunately, she could not close her ears as well.

"I'll be out in a sec, honey!" she yelled back at him, as though dropping twelve tiny corn-bread-and-mushroom-stuffed birds and running off like her heels were on fire were normal, everyday behavior.

"We lost the game hens! Jerry loves game hens!" James's voice was getting higher, more hysterical.

"We have cereal," Amanda replied, and then jumped as James threw his fist against the door to her bath. Amanda could tell he hurt his hand (she heard him swallow his yelp) and could feel him dancing about the bathroom in a rage he could not voice adequately in front of his illustrious guests.

Amanda almost felt bad for him. James could not shake the chip from his shoulder. Though he had wrestled down the American dream, though he drove a Lexus (just as good as a BMW, he told his aging frat-boy friends, without the sticker shock) and his wife an entirely too large SUV, though she shopped for his clothes at Neiman Marcus and no longer at JCPenney, though they had the house with the pool and cabana, he was still, in his heart of hearts, the poor immigrant boy who would never stop having to prove himself to the establishment. Even if it meant voting Republican.

And then she remembered why she was here in the first place, sitting in this bidet, in this home, in this tract, in this valley.

And Amanda shuddered.

"I was just wondering what would have happened," she said to James in hushed, secretive tones, "if we hadn't killed my brother."

James paused, sucked in his breath. "Okay. This is not funny. You know you are never to bring that up. Never!" he hissed.

"Would I be sitting in this million-dollar prison...fretting away my days, sweating over the correct canapés to serve pompous, forever-dieting Century City lawyers?"

"You're acting nuts — you crazy bitch!"

Amanda stifled her laugh. When Jimmy was this angry, his Latin accent would come out in full force. He sounded like Ricky Ricardo on diet pills.

"Okay, okay. Any woman would trade places with you. There's a million women, good-looking women — "

"Please, Jimmy, invite them over. I'll have a little girls' luncheon, nothing fancy, serve my famous Louisiana crab cakes, the mini ones, you know, with the pepper flakes."

"You'd better come out right now!"

Amanda turned the bidet on higher.

"Amanda? What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Amanda reached over to the toilet paper roll and proceeded to stuff her ears with quilted triple-ply, no dyes, no scent.

And she allowed herself to drift.

She pictured herself sitting in an old porcelain sink with a cold gray metal faucet in an early 1920s dank two-story house in what used to be one of the finer neighborhoods in Los Angeles, when the city was new, when movie stars did not consider east of La Brea to be the real estate equivalent of contracting an embarrassing disease, a cold sore on an upper lip. Someone with a strong, sure hand is bathing her in lukewarm water in the old cracked sink. She is not a child. She is a woman of twenty-three, old enough to enjoy a good cleaning. She grabs the hand, covered in soap suds, and looks at it, stares for a good long time. This, she thinks, belongs to a man who would not force her to be someone she was not; this belongs to a man who has pride in her solely because of who, not what, she is; this hand belongs to a man who would not slam doors in her face when she did not feel well enough to attend a business function, or pull her arm into a party crowded with people who never remembered her name.

She has never been happier and will never be this happy again.

Amanda brings herself back. Her smile drops. And she asks herself the inevitable: Will she go with him when he does ride up, his 2X900 purring, cutting into her heart like a new razor? Will she be that brave? Because she knows — as well as she knows the words to Tildy's favorite Raffi song, or Madison's fifth-grade girlfriend's last name, or where to find James's lost black Calvin Klein cashmere sock on the morning of a very important meeting — she knows he will come for her eventually.

Copyright © 2000 by Gigi Levangie Grazer

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First Chapter

Chapter One

To some it would be a distinctive scent, picked up on the breeze of a stranger. To others it would be a familiar smile, the crinkle of a nose, the slope of a peculiar walk. To Amanda Cruz, née McHenry, Encino mother of two (the Valley, yes — however, significantly, 2.5 blocks south of the boulevard), it was all about sound.

This hazy evening, with air heavy as an old woman's drapes, the deafening and insistent drumbeat of a Ninja 2X900 motorcycle shifting into first gear caused Amanda to drop an entire tray of stuffed Cornish game hens, rush outside to the curb, past the newly planted pink and violet hydrangeas and the (hideous) sandstone Labrador retriever, and back indoors, charging into the sanctuary of her separate bath to relieve herself in the cool waters of her recently installed imported brass-and-Italian-marble bidet.

Which, in turn, sent her little one, Tildy, yawling in terror at the sudden noise, to the stringy, Nautilized arms of her daddy; which sent her husband, James Cruz, rushing into gibberished explanation in front of the dinner party, teeming with various yet entirely similar corporate attorneys and their spouses.

Only Maddie — Madison, her son, her brother's son — did not get upset, taking in his adoptive mother's antics and his stepfather's overreaction with a bemused and exotic eye. Even at ten he'd lived too much to overreact to anything, except maybe death or the loss of a stolen skateboard with narrow glow-in-the-dark racing wheels.

Amanda sat in her bidet — yes, sat (she had no shame at the moment) — and lit a Marlboro cigarette, the real, no-bullshit, take-no-prisoners kind, the ones she kept hidden in the linen closet or behind the toilet or underneath the shiny brass sink.

She sucked in the shame-laced tobacco, exhaled its smoke slowly, and watched her reflection, covering her face in the gilt-framed antique mirror secured on the peach-colored, sponge-textured wall in front of her, her mind tearing away the days, like the images of a flip book, into her past.

As James banged on the bathroom door, yelling through gritted teeth, embarrassed and frantic over his loss of standing before his befuddled guests, who were well finished by now (it was eight-thirty, for crissakes) with their crabmeat rolls and feta cheese canapés, Amanda exhaled. The air came out of her like a death rattle, she thought ruefully. She took a moment to smile at her juvenile behavior.

And then she remembered. And the water rushed over her.

She took another puff, inhaling as deeply as she could — as deeply as her pink, overaerobicized lungs would allow (this sometimes takes a minute) — and leaned her head back against her peach-colored sponged wall. She closed her eyes.

"Amanda — you can't do this to me!"

Unfortunately, she could not close her ears as well.

"I'll be out in a sec, honey!" she yelled back at him, as though dropping twelve tiny corn-bread-and-mushroom-stuffed birds and running off like her heels were on fire were normal, everyday behavior.

"We lost the game hens! Jerry loves game hens!" James's voice was getting higher, more hysterical.

"We have cereal," Amanda replied, and then jumped as James threw his fist against the door to her bath. Amanda could tell he hurt his hand (she heard him swallow his yelp) and could

feel him dancing about the bathroom in a rage he could not voice adequately in front of his illustrious guests.

Amanda almost felt bad for him. James could not shake the chip from his shoulder. Though he had wrestled down the American dream, though he drove a Lexus (just as good as a BMW, he told his aging frat-boy friends, without the sticker shock) and his wife an entirely too large SUV, though she shopped for his clothes at Neiman Marcus and no longer at JCPenney, though they had the house with the pool and cabana, he was still, in his heart of hearts, the poor immigrant boy who would never stop having to prove

himself to the establishment. Even if it meant voting Republican.

And then she remembered why she was here in the first place, sitting in this bidet, in this home, in this tract, in this valley.

And Amanda shuddered.

"I was just wondering what would have happened," she said to James in hushed, secretive tones, "if we hadn't killed my brother."

James paused, sucked in his breath. "Okay. This is not funny. You know you are never to bring that up. Never!" he hissed.

"Would I be sitting in this million-dollar prison...fretting away my days, sweating

over the correct canapés to serve pompous,

forever-dieting Century City lawyers?"

"You're acting nuts — you crazy bitch!"

Amanda stifled her laugh. When Jimmy was this angry, his Latin accent would come out

in full force. He sounded like Ricky Ricardo on diet pills.

"Okay, okay. Any woman would trade places with you. There's a million women, good-looking women — "

"Please, Jimmy, invite them over. I'll have a little girls' luncheon, nothing fancy, serve my famous Louisiana crab cakes, the mini ones, you know, with the pepper flakes."

"You'd better come out right now!"

Amanda turned the bidet on higher.

"Amanda? What the hell do you think you're doing?"

Amanda reached over to the toilet paper roll and proceeded to stuff her ears with quilted triple-ply, no dyes, no scent.

And she allowed herself to drift.

She pictured herself sitting in an old porcelain sink with a cold gray metal faucet in an early 1920s dank two-story house in what used to be one of the finer neighborhoods in Los Angeles, when the city was new, when movie stars did not consider east of La Brea to be the real estate equivalent of contracting an embarrassing disease, a cold sore on an upper lip. Someone with a strong, sure hand is bathing her in lukewarm water in the old cracked sink. She is not a child. She is a woman of twenty-three, old enough to enjoy a good cleaning. She grabs the hand, covered in soap suds, and looks at it, stares for a good long time. This, she thinks, belongs to a man who would not force her to be someone she was not; this belongs to a man who has pride in her solely because of who, not what, she is; this hand belongs to a man who would not slam doors in her face when she did not feel well enough to attend a business function, or pull her arm into a party crowded with people who never remembered her name.

She has never been happier and will never be this happy again.

Amanda brings herself back. Her smile drops. And she asks herself the inevitable: Will she go with him when he does ride up, his 2X900 purring, cutting into her heart like a new razor? Will she be that brave? Because she knows — as well as she knows the words to Tildy's favorite Raffi song, or Madison's fifth-grade girlfriend's last name, or where to find James's lost black Calvin Klein cashmere sock on the morning of a very important meeting — she knows he will come for her eventually.

Copyright © 2000 by Gigi Levagnie Grazer

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2005

    a fast read, a sad read

    I was disappointed in this books constant sadness. At times I had to stop reading because I found myself falling into the theme of the books sadness. The overall story line was great with hardships being truthfully revealed however I wish there were more positive characters to relate to. Amanada was a sweet girl and I enjoyed Gabriel's role. I also felt that the ending was too quick. Almost as if the author ran out of things to write and just wanted to hurry up and end it. Rather than focusing on the early relationship I would've liked a more extensive explanation of their reunion. Just a side note... if you are depressed or not feeling up to par, skip this one. There are very few 'happy moments'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2002

    "Rescue Me" does just that: It rescues you.

    This book kept me on the edge of my seat. It was compelling and very rewarding in the content. This is one of the best books that I have read since I have been reading. I would tell anybody who enjoys a book that has anything to do with love and the fight for love should read this book. Flossy

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2001

    Compelling read

    Although this story was on the dark side, it was compelling. It dealt with the insecurities of a young girl/woman and the choices she is forced to make in an often unfair, imperfect world. However, in the end, love conquers all!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2000

    A group of realistic people.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It's a romance but not of the 'gooey' variety and the ending is not predictable. Terrific story and once I started reading it, it was VERY hard to put down. I've never read a book quite like it. Excellent!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2000

    Great novel

    Looking for a love story that is different from the rest? I highly recommend this novel. It blends a touching love story with suspense and an assortment of interesting characters (likable and unlikable) struggling to find happiness or to simply stay afloat in lives that have gone wrong.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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