Monday, September 06, 2010

The Good People of New York by Thisbe Nissen

I usually avoid coming-of-age stories. I had my own coming-of-age and as a mother I’ve been intimately involved in the comings-of-age of other people too. Enough is enough, thank you very much. The only reason I read this book was because I thought it was a story of married life in New York city – the familiar domestic fiction landscape that I like to inhabit. The blurb on the back certainly makes you think that! But it’s a bait and switch. After a few chapters of the courtship and early married life of Roz (Jewish, from Brooklyn) and Edwin (upstanding Nebraskan) we quickly abandon them and focus on their daughter Miranda. I missed Roz and Edwin! Edwin, especially, gets the short shrift, after he and Roz divorce and he’s banished back to the wilds of Omaha.

But by then I was invested enough in Miranda to stay with her, from her days at summer camp all the way through her first year of college. She’s a good little proto-feminist and I enjoyed her story. It was set in the 1980’s which was after my own adolescence but before that of my children, so it offered a different view. Dare we ask if Miranda’s story has anything in common with that of her creator, Thisbe Nissen, born in 1972? Oh who cares. It’s still entertaining and well written, so it makes for a good read.

This book came from a stack that I grabbed from the free book exchange located in the pool house of my mother-in-law’s condominium complex in West Orange, New Jersey. It’s amazing what you can find there! Future blog posts will feature some of my other discoveries.

(Book 41, 2010)


Cath said...

This wouldn't normally be something I would pick up, but you're right: it sounds pretty engaging and I think it will make a great read. Thanks!

Shelley said...

Sounds like the book switched focus from the middle-aged to the young. I've noticed lately with British/Canadian films and TV that those cultures seem a little more willing to find middle age of interest! I write about grownups, and I like to read about them, too.

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