Bill Gordon, Author . Dial $23 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-33642-0

Mary Nolan's life story is a classic: restless and unhappy in a Jersey City home where she was stifled by a diffident father and an invalid mother, she married too young (at 17), had kids too young (two by the age of 20), then found herself living her life to take care of others—her philandering husband, Bobby, included. But in Gordon's deft hands, Mary tells her story (and also the stories of her friends and family members) with the kind of freshness and chutzpah that make it new again. She's no martyr, that's for sure. She develops a liking for Valium, makes friends with ex-nuns and starts running a numbers business right out of her kitchen. Her beloved but misbehaving kids get smacked. Her husband's floozy-on-the-side gets kicked down the stairs. And Bobby gets himself served with divorce papers, even if Mary doesn't want to give him up entirely. Mary's no-nonsense, hardheaded voice gives way to a mellower, more wistful tone as she grows more independent and comes to terms with the unexpected but generally good turns her life has taken. Gordon's funny, cranky, warmhearted debut will find appreciative readers, and his Italian-American heroine plenty of fans. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh . (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/06/2004
Release date: 12/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 274 pages - 978-0-385-33643-7
Open Ebook - 168 pages - 978-0-307-42317-7
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