Saturday, May 10, 2008

Anybody Any Minutes-Julie Mars

Anybody Any Minutes
Julie Mars
St. Martin’s, Jun 2008
ISBN: 9780312378691

In 1995, Manhattanite fortyish Ellen Kenny heads to Montreal to spend time with her sister Karen and her infant nephew Olivier. However, the former hippie stops in Eagle Beck, New York and on a whim buys a fixer upper house not occupied since 1988; all on a credit card. Her spouse of seventeen years Tommy is stunned when she calls to tell him.

Ellen realizes that her purchase may have had a consequential side effect of devastating her marriage, but feels she did the right thing. However as she tries to become part of the small town, Ellen feels like an outsider even though she becomes friends with the local Hatfield and McCoy, feuding Rayfield and Rodney while Olivier is living with her for now.

This interesting character study looks deep at a disenchanted middle aged woman who finds her current secure life unsatisfactory and makes a whimsical spur of the moment decision to capture what she feels she lost but could cost her marriage with Oliver. When the tale focuses on Ellen’s relationships with her husband, sister, and nephew, the subplot is powerful and emotional. When the novel turns humorous with her being pulled by the feuding duo and other locals the story line is more amusing but dissipates some of its steam. Still this is a fine look at a former hippie turned middle class trying to regain the idealism of her lost youth paradise , but the reality does not always match the memory.

Harriet Klausner

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