Beaches: A Novel

Beaches: A Novel

by Iris R Dart


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Loudmouthed, redheaded Cee Cee Bloom has her sights set on Hollywood. Bertie White, quiet and conservative, dreams of getting married and having children. In 1951, their childhood worlds collide in Atlantic City. Keeping in touch as pen pals, they reunite over the years ... always near the ocean.

Powerful and moving, this novel follows Cee Cee and Bertie's extraordinary friendship over the course of thirty years as they transform from adolescents into adults. A bestselling novel that became a hugely successful film, Beaches is funny, heartbreaking, and a tale that should be a part of every woman's library.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060594770
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/15/2004
Series: Harper Perennial
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 376,302
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Iris Rainer Dart is the author of eight novels, including the much-beloved New York Times bestseller Beaches. The mother of two children, she lives in California with her husband.

Read an Excerpt


By Dart, Iris Rainer


ISBN: 0060594772

Chapter One

Los Angeles, California


The dancers were holding Cee Cee above their heads. "And now," she said, "as I lie in the arms of four promiscuous homosexuals from West Hollywood, my tits pointed towards the heavens like an offering to the gods, I slowly turn my head, look out at America and ask the musical question ... "

Everyone was laughing. The dancers were laughing so hard they made Cee Cee bounce up and down. Then Hal played the arpeggio and Cee Cee sang,

Toot, toot, tootsie good-bye!
Toot, toot, tootsie don't cry,

with the slow soulful rhythm of a torch song. Then the dancers turned front, and Cee Cee slithered down their shoulders and their backs until she stood on the floor with the four handsome boys swaying behind her.

The little red light on the phone had been lighting up for a long time. The stage manager grabbed the receiver, put it up to his left ear and put his finger in his right ear so he could hear above the din of the music.

"Yeah?" he whispered into the phone. It was someone for Cee Cee.

"She's workin'," he said softly. "Huh?"

The caller was a woman and she wouldn't take no. The stage manager shrugged, told her to hold on, and then put the receiver down on the long table next to some scripts. Hey, Cee Cee Bloom was singing. As far as he was concerned the whole world could hold on.

The choo choo train that takes me,
Away from you no words can
tell how sad it makes me.

Now the music went into the up tempo, and the boy dancers began to tap-dance and Cee Cee was tapping, too, keeping up with them. Her skill was remarkable. She hadn't tapped in years and it was hard, but she'd been knocking herself out for the last few weeks working on it, trying to get it back.

"Hey!" Cee Cee yelled as she came out of a turn. "These bozos are twenty-two years old and I'm thirty-six. So applaud, for chrissake."

Everyone laughed and applauded. The crew and the guest stars and the director and the guy from the network. Somebody even cheered bravo, and now Cee Cee whirled around the room looking just as skilled as the boy dancers. Someone, maybe it was one of the writers, whistled one of those whistles that people whistle for taxis in New York, and Cee Cee cracked a smile.

"All right," she hollered, "could I get you to fall for thirty-nine?" Everyone laughed, applauded, and cheered again.

Toot, toot tootsie don't cry
Toot, toot, tootsie good-bye!

Suddenly, the dancers lifted her onto their shoulders and twirled around. She raised her arms in the air. The crowd was applauding and stomping and cheering as the song ended, and Cee Cee was helped to the floor. The choreographer, elated with his own success, hugged her, and the director hugged her, and all the boy dancers hugged her.

"You did great on the hard parts," Lester, the curly-haired dancer said.

"Are you kidding?" Cee Cee answered. "Everybody knows hard parts are my specialty." The dancers laughed.

"Who's on the phone?" the wardrobe mistress asked.

"No one," the director said. "Hang it up."

The wardrobe mistress picked up the telephone receiver and held it to her ear.

"Hello?" She listened. "Just a second. Cee Cee," the wardrobe mistress called.

"Later," Cee Cee told her. "I'll have to call 'em back."

The wardrobe mistress held the phone receiver out to Cee Cee. She had a helpless look on her face.

"Roberta Barron," she said. She hoped Cee Cee would shrug noncommittally; then the phone could go back in its cradle and disconnect, and the wardrobe mistress could call her boyfriend and ask him what he wanted for dinner.


Good, it was no one important. The wardrobe mistress could hang up.

"Barron. Roberta."

Cee Cee ran to the phone and grabbed it out of the wardrobe mistress's hand.

"Lunch, people. One hour," the director said. Everyone was milling and talking and getting their things together.

Cee Cee spoke into the phone in a voice that didn't sound like her usual voice because it was almost timid.

"Bert, is it you?"

Her face was scrunched up as if that would help her to hear better over all the noise.

"Huh?" she said, working at listening. "Talk louder, Bert -- I'm in a room full of people."

Later, when the others were trying frantically to locate her, someone who had been standing nearby remembered that what Cee Cee had said next was, "Hey, I get it. I'll be there." Then she had ripped part of an inside page out of a script that was on the table, scribbled something on it, and put it in her purse. After that, she hung up the phone and walked quickly out of the rehearsal hall. Everyone thought she was going to lunch. But they were wrong ...


Excerpted from Beaches by Dart, Iris Rainer Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Reading Group Guide


Loud-mouthed, free-spirited Cee Cee Bloom has her sights set on Hollywood, and she is determined that nothing will get in her way. Bertie White, quiet and conservative, dreams of getting married and starting a family. In 1951, these radically different childhood worlds collide under the boardwalk in Atlantic City, and Cee Cee and Bertie embark on a lifelong friendship that they sustain over the years through letters and frequent reunions. Powerful and moving, Beaches follows Cee Cee and Bertie's extraordinary and tumultuous friendship over the course of thirty years as they transform from adolescents to adults. As Cee Cee emerges as a full-fledged star, Bertie develops from a beautiful young girl with a sentimental heart into a woman of substance and strength. Both women support one another through their mutual successes and failures, hopes and disappointments, and joys and sorrows. A bestselling novel that became a hugely successful film, Beaches is funny and heartbreaking in its portrait of an unwavering bond between the best of friends.

Questions for Discussion

  1. Beaches opens with Cee Cee Bloom in the middle of a rehearsal in Los Angeles in 1983, and then it shifts back in time to Bertie White lost in Atlantic City in 1951. How did the shifts in time and from one character to another enhance your reading of this novel? Did any flashbacks in particular give you insight into the nature of Cee Cee and Bertie's friendship?

  2. Is Bertie and Cee Cee's friendship a classic case of "opposites attract?" What does each have to offer to the other?

  3. How would you describe Cee Cee's home life? What role doesLeona play in her development as a celebrity? How does it compare to Bertie's upbringing?

  4. Throughout Beaches, a great deal of the friendship between Bertie and Cee Cee is conveyed through the letters they exchange. How important are these letters to their friendship? What role do they play in the course of the novel?

  5. When Cee Cee and Bertie wind up in Beach Haven working for the same theatrical troupe, how does each explore her developing sexuality? Were you surprised by the jealousy the friends experienced during this period?

  6. How do John Perry and Michael Barron impact the women's friendship? Discuss the developments that took place when both couples travelled to Hawaii together.

  7. Were you surprised by the sacrifices each friend was willing to make for the other?

  8. What role does Rosie White's illness play in bringing Cee Cee and Bertie back together? What does Cee Cee's behavior at Rosie's bedside suggest about her character?

  9. Were you surprised by Bertie's decision to keep Michael's baby? What did you think of Cee Cee's role in Bertie's pregnancy?

  10. What message about friendship did you take away from the conclusion of Beaches?

About the author

Iris Rainer Dart is the author of eight novels, including the much-beloved New York Times bestseller Beaches. The mother of two children, she lives in California with her husband.

Customer Reviews

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Beaches 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I give Beaches, by Iris Rainer Dart, 4 stars! The reason that I didn't give it 5 is becaues of two aspects that just didn't seem well done. At some parts in the book, it seemed hard to follow because of language and skipping about. Two positive aspects that I did see though, were that it had great characterization and well developed scenes. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to read a touching book about life and friendship!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so touching because these two women unite when their 11 years old. They start exchanging letters and forges a friendship that last over tears of dreams, failures divorce, love. This book is a testament to the true beauty of friendship.
EmScape on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first and last chapters mirror the film almost precisely, but everything in between is incredibly divergent. I'm having a hard time reviewing the book as an entity of it's own without comparing it to the film. I kept hearing Bette Midler's voice in my head while reading it. I have to go watch it again, I think. I did enjoy reading it. I can't really even say which is better. I sort of wish I'd read the book first. Ah, well. Even if you've seen the film a thousand times, this is worth your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Frostfire is locked out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She looks at him with sad eyes
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