Title: Vivian Rising
Author: Daniella Brodsky
Publisher: Downtown Press, a division of Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: August, 2010
Paperback, 352 pages
ISBN 10: 1439172021
ISBN 13: 9781439172025
From the publisher's website:
Vivian Sklar has always depended on her wise and feisty grandmother—not just because Grams raised her after Viv's mother took off twenty years ago, but because she seemed to have life all figured out. So when Grams dies, Viv feels completely alone. Everything she once knew seems unfamiliar and unwelcoming—until she finds hope in a most unlikely place: the cluttered second-story walk-up of an alarmingly perceptive astrologer. Viv thinks horoscopes are about as reliable as fortune cookies, but when Kavia's first reading dissuades her from taking a train that later crashes, she's hooked.
Under Kavia's guidance, Viv begins to process her grief and rebalance her life. She faces her mother, gets her career back on track, and even shares some meaningful moments with Len, her handsome new neighbor. Every prediction seems to speak directly to Viv's life, and so far, the stars haven't steered her wrong. Then the stars tell Viv that the bond she has forged with the insightful yet guarded Len isn't meant to last. Len has become her greatest source of security and comfort, but just as she settles into his arms—and into his heart—Kavia insists that a relationship with him is dangerous. Now Viv faces a choice: should she follow the path that's been written in the stars, or trust herself to write her own story?
Witty and honest, Daniella Brodsky's charming new novel is a powerful tale of moving on, letting go, and keeping the faith—in any form it happens to take.
My take: The story opens in Grams' hospital room, where Vivian has gone into the bathroom in an effort to avoid seeing the life-saving efforts of the hospital staff. As she's thinking that this is a movie and that the doctors and nurses were just putting on an act, she walks out to see her Grams with her eyes closed and the machines that had been monitoring her being rolled away.
Now Viv is all alone in the world, her absent, promiscuous and irresponsible mother having left her to the care of Grams after her father died. She has a job that she dislikes and a boss that hates her (and vice versa). She is lucky enough to work with her very best friend from childhood, who almost always manages to make her smile, even through the bad.
As Viv tries to cope with the loss of her grandmother, she finds herself in the office of an astrologer, Kavia, who seems to have much insight. As Viv becomes "hooked" on Katia's readings, she finds herself relying on her readings more and more, almost unable to make a move without consulting her first.
She meets the 'man' Kavia told her about, the son of her next-door neighbor, who is home helping his father cope with what may be his final illness They have an instant connection, but later find themselves barely on speaking terms.
In spite of what could be heavy subject matter, this book is a charmer, wittily written and pretty darn fun. Within the first few pages, the reading voice in my head changed to a Brooklynite's dialect, with a touch of Jewish hutzpah thrown in. The characters are people that we all know and like (well, except for Viv's boss Stan, who we would all like to chuck our shoe at). You will find yourself rooting for Viv, pushing her to stand up to her mother, and pushing her to do the right thing.
I look at the calendar and know just what to do for Grams: I should go into Manhattan and order a falafel sandwich with extra tahini and tomatoes at Rainbow Falafe. And the second I bite into it, just as she always did, I should complain there isn't enough tahini and tomatoes. And then twenty minutes later I should say, That was the best falafel in the world--just the perfect amount of tahini and tomatoes. This she would find the perfect tribute.
Book Rating. 3.75 out of 5 stars
BUY IT: You can purchase this book at the publisher's website, on Amazon, and at other on and off-line booksellers
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End date: October 12, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST
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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this title from Downtown Press to objectively review. No other form of compensation was received for this post, and I am not required to post a positive review.
This book is a charmer