On My Knees

Periel Aschenbrand, Author
Periel Aschenbrand. HarperPerennial, $14.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-202-689-7
Ebook - 208 pages - 978-0-06-209939-6
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Aschenbrand (The Only Bush I Trust Is My Own) leads readers by a studded leash on a bumpy ride from Manhattan through Queens, Tucson, Paris, and Israel. Quotes from Twain, Euripides, and Henri Bergson do little to soften the ride, however, as frank, hypersexualized banter begins as soon as we meet her parents. From here it's not a long walk before she moves in with best friend Hanna and tries to forget her own problems by writing about Hanna's lost virginity to a man with a diaper fetish. The love of our heroine's life is a couch in a Stuyvesant Town apartment she inherits when her grandmother, "in perhaps the biggest favor she had ever done for me, dropped dead." In the nine months she illegally inhabits the apartment, she breaks up with Noam, her lover of 10 years, has an affair with Nico, her boss at an ad agency, and spends a good deal of time on the aforementioned plastic-covered couch watching Law & Order SVU. The cliches and insipidness are far too prominent, and Aschenbrand's happy ending feels too pat to be real. Sex, fashion adventure, and boredom are laced throughout, and while there are bright spots, it's mostly one shade of grey. (June)
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