A child of theatrical royalty, Carrie Manning is having a hard time getting her own act together. Thirty-seven, aimless, and having just buried a famous mother she never understood, she is desperate to uncover her family's mysterious past in the hopes that it will help her understand herself. Read more...
A child of theatrical royalty, Carrie Manning is having a hard time getting her own act together. Thirty-seven, aimless, and having just buried a famous mother she never understood, she is desperate to uncover her family's mysterious past in the hopes that it will help her understand herself.
Carrie's search reveals the fascinating life stories of her estranged grandmother Lu, a glamorous Broadway star whose dreams came with a price; her great grandmother Mifalda, who gave up everything to come to America as a sixteen-year-old Italian bride; and her father, Bobby, the charismatic Broadway genius who wrote some of Lu's greatest musicals and died tragically young. At the heart of Carrie's discoveries lies the reason for her mother's complicated life, and a dark secret that has been buried for thirty years.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 36.
- Review Date: 2008-11-03
- Reviewer: Staff
Shaffer's ho-hum latest (after Family Acts) chronicles a neurotic New Yorker's quest to learn more about her recently deceased and famous mother. Carrie Manning, the daughter of philanthropist Rose and legendary playwright Bobby Manning, uncovers some secrets about mother while cleaning out her apartment. Reluctant to contact her estranged grandmother, celebrated stage actress Lu Lawson, Carrie talks to her great-uncle Paulie, who relays the story of Carrie's great-grandmother Mifalda, an illegitimate child raised by nuns. Fearing her “bad blood” corrupted Lu, Mifalda does her best to prevent Lu from becoming a singer, but when Lu eventually has a baby out of wedlock, Mifalda raises the child as Lu pursues her Broadway career. While Shaffer conveys how Rose's constant criticism plunged Carrie into an unhappy life, Carrie comes off as ditzy and simple, and Bobby and Rose feel stock. Often heavy-handed and prone to stating the obvious (“The thing about smiling and pretending—and tongue biting—year after year is that eventually it takes its toll”), Shaffer gets in the way of a promising premise. (Apr.)