LEAVING EDEN

Anne D. LeClaire, Author . Ballantine $23.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-345-44574-2

Dreams of Hollywood fame descend on the denizens of even the smallest of small towns, and Eden, Va., is no exception. When 16-year-old Tallie Brock spots a poster advertising a $20 makeover and photo session—Glamour Day, the offer is dubbed—she is convinced it's her ticket to movie stardom. Hollywood dreaming runs in the family. Tallie's mother, Dinah Mae, a dead ringer for Natalie Wood, even named her daughter after Wood. When Tallie was 12, Dinah Mae spent six months in Los Angeles, hoping to land a role as Natalie in a television biopic. Upon her return, Tallie was eager for news of what Dinah Mae had been doing, but had to resort to eavesdropping when her mother would confide only in her best friend, Martha Lee. Ever since Dinah Mae got back, she hasn't been herself and Tallie is afraid that she'll lose her mother again. To keep worry at bay, she writes in her journal, moons over handsome, rich Spaulding Reynolds, worries about her mill-worker father's drinking and dreams of fleeing tiny Eden. What follows is a journey marked by both pain and pleasure. LeClaire's pacing is uneven, her major revelations are awkwardly timed and the tragic incident that triggers the denouement is stagily introduced. Still, Tallie is an endearing character, and the Southern banter of the ladies at the beauty parlor where she works is pitch-perfect. Despite bumps in the delivery, LeClaire's (Entering Normal) homey storytelling goes down easy. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/26/2002
Release date: 08/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 413 pages - 978-0-7862-4871-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4176-9083-1
Hardcover - 412 pages - 978-0-7540-1895-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7927-2706-4
Hardcover - 413 pages - 978-0-7540-9261-2
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-7927-4188-6
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