Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dear Great Book Guru,

This weekend is the annual Sea Cliff Civic Association's Newcomers Welcoming Party. I have heard that there are over forty new residents (including me) coming to the party. It sounds like great fun. Do you predict there will be one or two books that everyone will be talking about at the party? Newcomer to Sea Cliff

Dear Newcomer, How lucky you are! The party which will be held at Laurie and Phil Martone's lovely home and catered by B. Brown's should be the social event of the season, and, yes, I will predict that MY HOLLYWOOD by Mona Simpson will be the book on everyone's must- discuss list. The lead characters are Claire and Lola, who narrate alternating chapters. Claire is a new mother recently transplanted from New York to California. She is a musician/composer whose career is floundering in its new setting. Lola is a fifty year-old woman who is hired as the nanny for Claire's infant son. She has emigrated from the Philippines to finance her daughter's medical school education . Claire's torturous introspections about her work, her home, her child, and her role as employer are brutally recounted. Lola quickly bonds with the other caregivers and emerges as a powerful force in their community. Throughout, we are confronted with the imbalance that exists between employer and employee and the troublesome dependence that evolves when childcare is outsourced. This is a book that leaves its readers, whatever their present situation, feeling uncomfortable. Also, sure to be discussed is Woody Allen's YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER. I saw it with very discriminating friends this weekend, and we all agreed it was a wonderful movie, not to be missed. I hope you get a chance to see it.

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