Pamela Morsi, Author . Mira $6.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-55166-884-0

Clever and comical at its best and slow-moving and chatty at its worst, Morsi's (Matters of the Heart) first foray into the realm of contemporary women's fiction chronicles the painstaking transformation of 40-something Jane Lofton from narcissistic snob to messianic do-gooder. Jane has everything she thought she ever wanted—a filthy rich husband, a successful career as a realtor and a membership to the most exclusive country club in Texas. Even the knowledge that her husband is cheating on her again and her 19-year-old daughter will only speak to her through her therapist doesn't phase her. It isn't until she's nearly killed in a car accident and miraculously saved by Chester Durbin, a frail old man living in an assisted living center, that she realizes how skewed her priorities are. After the accident, Jane embarks on a mission to do good, but her initial attempts (writing checks to charities and helping a young girl find her way back to her mother in a mall) fail miserably. With the help of Chester's sage advice, Jane eventually gets on the right track, weathers the dissolution of her marriage and finds love in the arms of an old school chum, but her journey, though inspirational, is hardly exceptional. Middle-aged working moms may identify with Jane's struggle to trust her daughter, but others will be hard-pressed to find anything redeeming about Morsi's protagonist aside from her desire to do good. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 02/11/2002
Release date: 00/00/0000
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