Bad Housekeeping

Julie Edelson, Author
Julie Edelson, Author Baskerville Publishers $21 (258p) ISBN 978-1-880909-31-7
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
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Carol Krasnow, self-involved artist and restorer of old houses, a divorced Brooklynite transplanted to North Carolina, is at once street-smart and out of touch with her children. In Edelson's fast, funny and irreverent look at single parenting, Carol (``Cee'') discovers that her teenage daughter Ariel is an alcoholic and a shoplifter only when Ariel's tattletale friend Fawne tells her so. Dash, Cee's son, is on the verge of being suspended from school, where he fights bullies who shake him down for small change. Cee doesn't get much sympathy or understanding from her toy-boy, rock-guitarist lover Eric, nor from her disapproving, old-fashioned Jewish parents, who live in a nearby retirement home. And a mural project with Fawne, a rebellious, racist, suicidal kid who hates her abusive stepfather, turns into a disaster. Only a near-fatal accident propels Cee into full awareness and a new level of communication as a parent. Then her old Brooklyn friend and idol, Elspeth, shows up, and this onetime hipster painter, now a sassy botanist and pit-bull breeder with tattoos all over her body, dispenses pat advice against which Cee gauges her own shortcomings as a mother. Edelson (No News Is Good) writes with sympathy and insight into her characters lives, but what most distinguishes this book is the furious alertness of Cee's urgent and observant voice. (May)
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