Rattled

Debra Galant, Author
Debra Galant, Author . St. Martin's $21.95 (243p) ISBN 978-0-312-34931-8
Reviewed on: 11/07/2005
Release date: 01/01/2006
Paperback - 243 pages - 978-0-312-36658-2
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4299-1923-4
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Galant skewers the shallow, striving, McMansion-dwelling suburbanites in this engaging satire. Heather Peters is staring 35 in the face—though "depending on the light, [she could] still pass for a high school cheerleader"; her husband, Kevin, can barely stand her half the time, and her son, Conner, is a complete misfit—but at least they've just landed their dream home in Galapagos Estates, a new development in New Jersey. Galant follows their comic trials and those of two longtime area residents: Agnes, an animal lover and PETA sympathizer, and egg farmer Harlan White, who freelances as a handyman and makes a "fortune off those suckers." Which is how Harlan finds himself smashing the head of an endangered rattlesnake on Heather's back porch... and how Heather gets arrested after Agnes fingers her as the murderer of an endangered species... and how Galapagos Estates becomes the center of a media firestorm. Heather's rise to fame as a "rattlesnake killer" makes a handy metaphor about urban sprawl and the battle of new residents versus old ones, and pokes fun at the oversize egos of slimy developers and yuppies alike. Galant shows a keen knowledge of the real estate turf war and its soldiers in this wincingly funny book—but craft sympathetic characters she does not. (Feb.)

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