cover image Little Stalker

Little Stalker

Jennifer Belle, . . Riverhead, $24.95 (333pp) ISBN 978-1-59448-946-4

At age 33, in search of a man, a second novel and a life, Manhattan writer Rebekah Kettle occupies the singleton’s circle of hell. Having defaulted on her book contract, she’s reduced to working as a physician’s assistant for her eccentric dad, her only meaningful relationship with a senile old woman with whom she wallows in Little House on the Prairie reruns. And she’s plagued by a bitchy, big-breasted gossip columnist who wants her to blurb her book. One bright spot: her brain tumor isn’t fatal. The unlikely catalyst for Rebekah’s recovery is her obsession with Woody Allenesque director Arthur Weeman. She begins dating a sympatico young Weeman look-alike and rekindles her creative spark by writing the filmmaker flirty letters in the voice of a 12-year-old girl. When she spies Weeman in a compromising position, she reexamines her own romantic history with much older men, beginning with her middle-school defloration and subsequent abortion. Belle (High Maintenance; Going Down) sometimes loses the story amid a swirl of wisecracking, madcap moments, and the tone she uses on her more intense psychosexual material doesn’t always work. Still, she’s in fine form, and her sensibility sparkles with offbeat humor. (May)