LISA MARIA'S GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED

Susan Hubbard, Author . Red Dress Ink $12.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-373-25061-5

A dust rag and Comet cleanser are 29-year-old Lisa Maria Marino's ticket to gainful employment and love in this strained chick-lit offering. When an office romance turns sour, Lisa Maria leaves her advertising job in New York and escapes to the dubious shelter of New Sparta, her upstate hometown. She hangs around with her meddlesome parents and her ultra-domestic sister, ultimately deciding to embark on a career as a personal household assistant (a.k.a. maid), figuring that she might fare better working only for women. Her one exception, the befuddled writer McAllister, turns out to be irresistible, but before their relationship can take more than a few wobbling steps, Lisa Maria discovers another woman in McAllister's apartment, and gives him the cold shoulder, not bothering to listen to his explanations or excuses. While he wilts without her attention, Lisa Maria cultivates a second career as an advice columnist for the local paper and scours an antiquated self-help guide, Live Alone and Like It . Even as Lisa Maria delves deeper into the personal lives of her fellow New Spartans, her dry and slightly vindictive sense of humor may deflect readers. Hubbard piles on catastrophic plot developments at the over-the-top ending, but even explosions and adultery provide scant fuel for the novel's sarcasm. Agent, Marcy Posner. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
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