Hilarious and heartbreaking, combining the emotional incisiveness of Jane Austen with the up-to-the-minute frankness of "Sex and the City," Dunn's latest work will be the passing must-read novel of the summer.
The annals of love have recorded many a humiliating breakup over the years, but Alison Hopkins gets hit with a humdinger in this surprising, touching and hilariously deadpan debut novel. When she sends her live-in boyfriend Tom to the supermarket right before a dinner party, she figures the worst that can happen is that he'll get the wrong mustard. Instead he calls from a pay phone to tell her he's not coming back at all, because he's fallen in love with his college sweetheart, Kate Pearce with whom he's been sleeping for five months. If Alison were a Sex and the City siren, she'd distract herself with martinis, Manolos and misappropriated men, but she's a broke columnist for the floundering weekly The Philadelphia Times. Plus, though now lapsed, she was raised evangelist Christian. So it's a new pair of hiking boots, pie-contest judging and furtive dalliances with a coworker for reluctant good-girl Alison as she tries to gauge the ins and outs of the single world that non-fundamentalists mastered in their early 20s. Alison's struggles to fit into the mainstream world are fresh and full of wisdom, and Dunn's humor is marvelously dry: "Bonnie had a sudden flash of what he might come up with on his own so she drew a picture on a cocktail napkin of a wide band of channel-set diamonds, and she wrote down the words 'platinum' and 'size six' and 'BIG' and 'SOON.' " This is a delightful exploration of the empowerment that comes from escaping a Big Love turned Bad Love. 5-city author tour.