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The Smart One: A Blogstop Book Tour Book Review August 8, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in writing/editing/blogging.
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Relationships. At its core, that is what Ellen Meister’s The Smart One is about. Through non-stop action and descriptive language that not only puts you in the scenes physically, but emotionally, Meister unravels a spellbinding story with wit and panache. Starting in media res, living through protagonist Bev’s interview for a position that could take her out of life-long home of New York for a fresh start—away from the disappointments and distractions created from a lifetime of trying to live up to the labels and expectations of her parents, her sisters—and even herself. Bev, the middle child, was labeled as “the smart one,” nestled between Claire—”the pretty one” with the “perfect” life: wife, mother, Soccer Mom extraordinaire, and Joey—”the wild child”—a recovering addict and former one-hit-wonder rock star. All three sisters love each other tremendously, but cannot seem to escape the bounds of the labels created for them or the sibling rivalry.

A strange twist of fate that has Bev house sitting her childhood neighbors’ home while she awaits news about her new job also reconnects her with old neighborhood friend Kenny Waxman (and son of the same neighbors). Kenny and Bev have a history themselves, one which in itself is complicated, especially as Kenny struggles with his own family-expectations issues and adds yet another dimension to the connection between past, present and future.  Bev returning to her childhood home on Long Island serves to upset that strange balance of family (and neighborhood) dysfunction that many of us know all too well.  Kenny and Bev, back home for the same mission (to help sell Kenny’s parent’s home) leads to an accidental journey of discovery to unravel the mysteries hidden in an industrial drum found in the Waxman’s crawl space — mysteries that serve to disrupt the appearances that suburban life tries to maintain as a decaying pregnant corpse is revealed as the drum’s contents. Bev, her sisters and Kenny end up unraveling the secrets and mysteries of the quad’s own former lives, those of their families and sheds light on where each may be  heading as individuals.

Meister’s characters are strangely real — as if you’ve met them before, and the storyline moves well, urging you to turn the next page for more. The Smart One is a perfect read for the end of the summer, and one that’s certain to become among those that you pick up and read again … and again … and again.

The Smart One is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Booksense and Borders. To learn more about Ellen Meister and her previous work Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, visit her Web site at www.EllenMeitser.com. The Smart One is published by Avon an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Smart One
by Ellen Meister
NewYork: Avon/HarperCollins, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-112963-9

This book review is part of the BlogStop Book Tours book review series for The Smart One . Visit BlogStop Book Tours to learn more.

Future stops on The Smart One book tour are:

To read the reviews at the previous stops on The Smart One book tour, visit: