"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Anna Quindlen - Rise and Shine

Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen opens with the sentence, "From time to time some stranger will ask me how I can bear to live in New York City." The rest of the novel is like an exposition answering this stranger's question. Sure, there is a plot. There is a story about two sisters and how one's fame and public mistake affects the other. There are romantic relationships. Things happen. But there is so much commentary on life in New York City between the action that I am not sure which fills more pages. If you live in New York, and especially if you are around people in Manahattan who are extremely preoccupied with professional success, you may love this book. I didn't.

The main character in Rise and Shine, Bridget, is interesting. I enjoyed the parts about her job in the Bronx a lot. I also liked her assistant, Tequila. The parts of the book when Bridget was dealing with work, her romantic relationship or her surrogate mother role to her nephew, Leo, were good reading.

The novel revolves, however, around Bridget's famous sister, Meghan. I was never convinced that Meghan's on-air mistake would be as huge a deal as it is written to be. Meghan also was underdeveloped, making her impact less than it needed to be in order to understand Bridget's transformation.

The passing of time in the book is also confusing. It sometimes read as if a day or two had passed and then suddenly someone would mention it was a month later. This made it hard to follow.

This is not Quindlen's best.