California Time

Catherine Hiller, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (263p) ISBN 978-0-312-09760-8
Although jauntily written, this tale of a Mahattan family that moves to California exaggerates the beat of its culture shock motif. Cameraman Michael Simon hates New York, not least because he can't find work. One day at breakfast, he announces to his book editor wife, Laurie, and their kids, aged 10 and 15, their forthcoming move to Los Angeles. Though Laurie is loath to leave their snug (read: minuscule) Greenwich Village apartment, she acquiesces and the Simons cross the continent to enter a world of jacuzzis, biofeedback, entertainment-biz backstabbing, and driving, lots of driving. Scenes of New York emphasize its best and worst characteristics while Santa Monica's suburban sprawl seems like paradise--that is, until the Simons have been there awhile. At times the family is far too naive, as when they take an untrustworthy woman who advertises she ``Will Work for Food' into their home to iron shirts. Several awkward sex scenes warrant only a cursory, embarrassed glance and hints that the Simon's fifth grade daughter is a lesbian are overdone, though thought-provoking. If Hiller ( Downtown Women ) tries too hard with such details, her energetic touch and lively dialogue has something for people on both coasts. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/01/1993
Release date: 11/01/1993
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