Rise and Shine

Anna Quindlen, Author . Random $24.95 (269p) ISBN 978-0-375-50224-8

Bridget Fitzmaurice, the narrator of Quindlen's engrossing fifth novel, works for a women's shelter in the Bronx; her older sister, Meghan, cohost of the popular morning show Rise and Shine , is the most famous woman on television. Bridget acts as a second mother to the busy Meghan's college student son, Leo; Meghan barely tolerates Bridget's significant other, a gritty veteran police detective named Irving Lefkowitz. After 9/11 (which happens off-camera) and the subsequent walking out of Meghan's beleaguered husband, Evan, Meghan calls a major politician a "fucking asshole" before her microphone gets turned off for a commercial, and Megan and Bridget's lives change forever. As Bridget struggles to mend familial fences and deal with reconfigurations in their lives wrought by Meghan's single phrase, Quindlen has her lob plenty of pungent observations about both life in class-stratified New York City and about family dynamics. The situation is ripe with comic potential, which Bridget deadpans her way through, and Quindlen goes along with Bridget's cool reserve and judgmentalism. The plot is very imbalanced: a couple of events early, then virtually nothing until a series of major revelations in the last 50 or so pages. The prose is top-notch; readers may be more interested in Quindlen's insights than in the lives of her two main characters. (Aug. 28)

Reviewed on: 06/26/2006
Release date: 08/01/2006
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