Ballantine, Jul 2008, $14.00
In New York thirty-eight years old divorcee Samantha Krasner has always felt overwhelmed by her beloved but larger than life mother, Madeleine Krasner-Wolfe. Inanely she thinks her mom has been wealthy widowed twice to her one impoverished divorce and is a noted art collector while she is an assistant at the Cole Gallery.
Madeleine wants her daughter to live life to the fullest as the late Rosalind Russell described her philosophy that “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death”; so she is euphoric when Samantha and hot British artist Blake Hamilton seem to hit it off. However, geography is a factor so Madeleine encourages her daughter to after the gynecologist hunk Spencer Gould or perhaps Mark Robbins. Meanwhile she makes it a family affair when Madeleine decides to go after Spencer’s father Alden, also a gynecologist. To matchmake with the father and son physicians, Madeline arranges medical appoints for her, Samantha, and her niece virginal Celeste.
The upper crust Manhattan-Long Island lifestyle comes across in a vivid manner through the escapades of the Aunt Mame like mom and her often embarrassed daughter. Madeleine is more of a caricature lampooning the elitist affluence right next door to poverty while the rest of the support cast enables the audience to see deep into what makes Samantha tick. Samantha is the star but her chick lit asides are more often cold and cruel instead of cool and comical. Still overall this romp through the world of the nouveau widowed riche is an intriguing look at the indifference of the let them eat cake crumbs crowd.