Monday, September 9, 2013

THEN SHE FOUND ME by Elinor Lipman

April Epner's adoptive parents have both passed away, and Bernice Graverman feels that she can now out herself as April's birth mother.  Bernice is a famous TV personality who plunges into April's thirty-something life and then expects her to believe that JFK is her father.  Bernice follows this up with another tall tale, and then a young woman shows up, claiming to be Bernice's real daughter, fathered by Jack Kerouac.  Eventually we, and April, find out the truth.  Meanwhile, April, a Latin teacher, has struck up a friendship with the school librarian, Dwight, who unwittingly finds himself in Bernice's web as well.  The banter among these three is refreshing and witty, keeping the situation from becoming too heavy.  April has these two relationships to explore and hopes to add a third—that of her biological father—to the mix.  In fact, I found April to be just a vehicle to bring the gangly, nerdy Dwight and the over-the-top Bernice together on the page.  Dwight is an ugly duckling with the potential to become April's Prince Charming.  Bernice doesn't quite fit the role of the evil queen or stepmother in this fairy tale, though, because she's not malicious in her meddling machinations at all.  In fact, she's pretty wise—in a wise-ass sort of way.

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