Kate Long, Author . Ballantine $21.95 (351p) ISBN 978-0-345-47965-5

Three independent, prickly women living together in ex-Council housing sort out life and love in this funny, touching and utterly winning debut, a U.K. bestseller. Not only has 17-year-old Charlotte just gotten dumped by her pretty-boy lover, she's also discovered that she's pregnant. It's like history repeating itself, considering that her mom, Karen, had her when she was 16. Karen's going to kill her, Charlotte thinks, and she's half right: Karen's so mad at her smart, independent daughter for ruining her chance for college that she could just about hit her on the head with a skillet. Then there's Nan—Karen's aging, batty adoptive mother, who burns important mail in the toaster and always seems to need a change of her colostomy bag—whom both Charlotte and Karen love and want to strangle. Long tells the story of Charlotte's pregnancy, Karen's search for her birth mother and Nan's tough past through shifting first-person sections (Nan's voice, with its working-class Northern lilt, is particularly strong), moving wittily and gracefully toward an ending that's happily realistic. Good secondary characters—Karen's lazy ex, Steve; Charlotte's sweet would-be love, Daniel—round out a lovable cast in this story about growing up at 17, facing life head-on at 33 and letting go at 81. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/28/2005
Release date: 03/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4050-5309-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-307-41689-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4050-5217-7
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-330-45004-1
Paperback - 364 pages - 978-0-345-47966-2
Hardcover - 485 pages - 978-0-7862-7867-1
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