REVIEW: OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION, BY STEPHEN MCCAULEY

 

George and Nina seem like the perfect couple. They share a cozy, cluttered Brooklyn apartment, a taste for impromptu tuna casserole dinners, and a devotion to ballroom dancing lessons at Arthur Murray. They love each other. There’s only one hitch: George is gay. And when Nina announces she’s pregnant, things get especially complicated. Howard—Nina’s overbearing boyfriend and the baby’s father—wants marriage. Nina wants independence. George will do anything for a little unqualified affection, but is he ready to become an unwed surrogate dad? A touching and hilarious novel about love, friendship, and the many ways of making a family.

 

My Thoughts: I loved the movie based on Object of My Affection, starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Ruud, among others.

After reading another novel by this author, I was eager to see how this story played out in book format.

Just as in the movie, I enjoyed the settings (Manhattan, Brooklyn) and the issues of two roommates taking on the challenges of single life, especially when one of the characters is having a baby with another man.

The book ended on a different note, and while I liked it, I couldn’t help but wish for the movie ending. 4.5 stars.

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REVIEW: THE EDITOR, BY STEVEN ROWLEY

 

After years of trying to make it as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally sells his novel to an editor at a major publishing house: none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie—or Mrs. Onassis, as she’s known in the office—has fallen in love with James’s candidly autobiographical novel, one that exposes his own dysfunctional family. But when the book’s forthcoming publication threatens to unravel already fragile relationships, both within his family and with his partner, James finds that he can’t bring himself to finish the manuscript.

Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship, and she pushes him to write an authentic ending, encouraging him to head home to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother. Then a long-held family secret is revealed, and he realizes his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page…

 

My Thoughts: The Editor is an engaging story that focuses on the publishing industry of the recent past. Set in 1990s Manhattan, the tale features the unique and captivating addition of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as the charming editor for a struggling author. Her literary gifts remind us all of how rare such bookish delights seem set against our contemporary world of Print-on-Demand literature in various formats.

James Smale, as the author, is on a chaotic journey when the story begins. His dysfunctional family is the centerpiece of his work, which offers the opportunity for Jackie to guide him through the process of rewriting his own life by reconnecting with his mother, the protagonist of his fictionalized autobiography. His mother has kept him at arm’s length, remaining silent to his questions about their family history. Jackie’s advice: let her tell her story. Will an unexpected secret widen the rift between them, or be the first step forward to a new relationship?

The book and its characters swept me back to an illusory time when we were not bombarded by social media, the 24 -hour news cycle, and constant cynicism. I miss being able to admire those in positions of power. For a little while, the glow of a golden time that I always think of as a part of Jackie and the lives she led settled over me and held me captive. 4.5 stars.***