I loved this book. Although I usually don't like books set in cities,I liked the Manhatten setting. The character had a great view of life. Although she was comfortable with both the upper class and the lower class, she was constantly making sharp observations about both. Great dialogue, great characters and great ending.
Abandoned by ther mother before her first birthday, occasionally "parented" by her father (when he wasn't in prison!) Amy Lincoln basically raises herself, gains a scholarship to a New England boarding school, then goes to Harvard, then to Columbia School of Journalism. Now a reporter for a prestigious magazine, she doesn't know who she is or how to connect.
Amy's search for her mom becomes a search for a place to belong.
Funny observations on contemporary life and a great read.
Another winner by Susan Issacs. Amy is a quirky, smart thirty-something career girl with issues---an ex-con dad, an uncommitted boyfriend and a lost mother---not to mention the story she is working on. Susan Issacs takes all these plots and stirs them up in a sublime work of chick lit.
I could not put this book down. Had to add eyedrops all day as my eyes became dry from forgetting to blink. I highly recommend this book, it is well written, moves smoothly and quickly, and operates well on several levels of meanings.
From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com
Nobody does smart, gutsy, funny, sexy dames better than Susan Isaacs. Her novels are the literary equivalent of a Myrna Loy movie, except that Isaacs's typical heroine is an up-from-the-working-class Jewish gal whose self-deprecating humor and wry view of social pretense betray an unease with the WASP world of privilege that the shiksa Loy's characters never felt.
The latest terrific Isaacs novel, Any Place I Hang My Hat, confronts, more directly than any of her previous books, the psychological fallout from a classic Isaacs family situation: that of a daughter who parents her parents. Isaacs's dames almost always have more on the ball than their fathers and, particularly, their mothers. Examples of this mother-as-child turnaround in her fiction range from the painfully prosaic (a mother with Alzheimer's disease in the murder mystery After All These Years) to the extraordinary (an alcoholic and promiscuous dumb bunny of a mother in the superb World War II suspense story/social drama Shining Through.)
Her latest heroine, Amy Lincoln (yes, she's Jewish, despite that moniker), boasts more than the usual quota of deeply flawed parents and guardians. She all but raised herself in a low-income project in New York City. Her paternal grandmother was her legal guardian, but the late Grandma Lil (who worked for years as a "substitute waxer, ripping the hair off the lips, legs, and random chins of the famous and the merely rich at Beauté, an uptown, upscale beauty salon") was not, as Amy admits, "the brightest bulb on the menorah."While she was growing up, Amy's loving screw-up of a dad, Charles "Chicky" Lincoln, was gone a lot, sojourning in the slammer for robbery, assault and other missteps. Amy's mother, Phyllis, who's the object of Amy's fantasies, was a teenager when, according to Lincoln family lore, she called out to her baby daughter, "See you later, sweets" and walked out the apartment door, never to return.
Still, through hard work, brainpower and a talent for ingratiating herself with powerful people, Amy has made something of herself. During her student years, a sympathetic social worker helped her get a scholarship to Ivey-Rush Academy, a tony girls' boarding school that was out to diversify its student body. ("Once I got there I realized that about two-thirds of the nonwhites in the [school brochure] photo must have been hired for the day from some Diversity, Our Specialty model agency.") Currently, the 28-year-old Amy works as an associate editor at a serious (no gossip, no photos) political magazine called In Depth. ("If In Depth had an escutcheon, it would bear the words NULLA SCIENTIA SINE TAEDIO on a field of bleakest gray. No knowledge without boredom.")
The plot gets rolling when Amy shows up at a snooty fundraiser for Sen. Thomas Bowles of Oregon, an outside candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. The event, hosted by a men's footwear magnate and his missus at their mammoth Central Park West co-op, is disrupted when a young man dodges security and announces that he's the senator's out-of-wedlock son. Although the story lies outside her journalistic purview, Amy finds herself drawn to the plight of the party crasher. His desperate need to make contact with his alleged biological father reawakens Amy's nascent longings to find her mother.
Thus ensues a search that roams from the Royal Athens Diner in Queens ("The sort of place with a menu longer than the complete works of Dickens"), where Amy grills a reluctant "Chicky" about the details of his brief marriage to her runaway mother, to a gated retirement community in Florida where Amy tracks down her maternal grandmother. Her yearnings to find a family of her own are intensified by a painful breakup with her longtime boyfriend, by the unreliable companionship provided by her much-married best friend, "Tatty" (a society cake decorator), and by Sept. 11. Like so many other New York writers, Isaacs clearly feels compelled to register the horror of that day, but she wisely does so with restraint.
"How the hell can someone not have any feeling or . . . even curiosity about a human being he [or she] was responsible for giving life to?" That's the central question of this merrily observant, moving -- and, as always with Isaacs -- very entertaining novel. Sen. Bowles's supposed son shouts out the question directly; Amy asks it silently and constantly as she penetrates the mystery of her mother's disappearing act. Any Place I Hang My Hat testifies to the importance of family in an uncertain, sometimes terrifying world. Refreshingly, the novel expands its understanding of family to include those bound together by affinity as well as blood.
Intelligent women's fiction/chicklit. Amy, the protagonist, has spent her whole life fitting in, both in the projects and in upper-crust boarding schools. Abandoned by her mom and cut off from her frequently imprisoned dad, she makes it her goal to be well-liked and invited back. It is only when she begins a search for her mother than she discovers that she had been holding back all these years.
I hadn't read anything of Susan Isaacs in years, but I ended up liking this -- the main character is flawed (of course) but in a way that you feel for her. The story was engaging and the ending satisfying.
Susan Isaacs peppers this work with her off-the-wall humor. I read her for her descriptions if for not anything else. You will find what she says will lift at least one corner of your mouth in a smile if she doesn't make you guffaw.
I stayed up so late last night trying to finish this book that my vision was totally blurred. Had to pick it up this morning for the last few pages.
All-in-all a good book. The search for a parent becomes the theme around which a poignant love story takes place. Without spoiling it for anyone, the slow start is quickly overtaken by the compelling story of a seious writer who almost outthinks every situation.
Ellen W. reviewed Any Place I Hang My Hat (Audio CD) (Abridged) on
A very erudite book. I say this somewhat facetiously, as I am a fairly well-educated person, and a few of the cultural references were over my head! So, naturally, I recommend it to anyone who is less educated than I so I appear all the more sophisticated for having read it.
From Publishers Weekly
A political reporter in her late 20s goes in search of the mother who abandoned her when she was a baby in this jaunty if rather jerky 10th novel by Isaacs (Long Time No See; Red, White, and Blue; etc.). Amy Lincoln was brought up in the projects by her Grandma Lil, a leg waxer and devoted Falcon Crest viewer; her amiable father, Chicky, spent most of Amy's childhood in prison on a series of minor theft raps. A boarding school scholarship rescues Amy from lower-class oblivion; she goes on to Harvard and Columbia, then lands a job at In Depth, a highbrow weekly. Upbeat and self-deprecating, Amy spends little time bemoaning her past, but an encounter with college student Freddy Carrasco, who claims he's the illegitimate son of a Democratic presidential candidate, gets Amy wondering where her own mother might be. While advising Freddy how to approach his father, she uses her reporting skills to track down her elusive mother. The political subplot is anticlimacticAmy doesn't even get a scoopand Amy's eventual reunion with her mother, revealed to be a chilly suburban housewife, is credibly if rather disappointingly subdued. The parade of lavishly and loopishly described secondary characters and gossipy New York scene-setting give the novel its zing; Amy's rocky relationship with her documentary filmmaker boyfriend provides a jolt of romantic excitement and a happy ending.