cover image BLUE SHOE


Anne Lamott, , read by Laural Merlington. . Brilliance Audio, $38.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59086-354-1

Anyone familiar with Lamott's writing knows her strength is the portrayal of daily life: mothers raising children, lost love, ill parents and more. Mattie, recently separated from her husband, has moved back to the home she grew up in. She decides to renovate the badly run-down house, not anticipating the added complications in her life. Her mother is suffering from dementia, her children are misbehaving and Mattie is still drawn to her estranged husband even though he is involved with a younger woman. This unabridged audio captures the frantic pace of Lamott's work. There are long phone conversations between Mattie and her mother and talks with Angela, Mattie's best friend, who's moving away. Lamott aptly observes that Mattie seems more upset about not seeing her friend than not seeing her husband. Unfortunately, Merlington's quick, flat narration doesn't help bring the novel to life. Some may find themselves overwhelmed by the number of characters while others may struggle to focus on Mattie. While Merlington occasionally changes her voice when other characters are speaking, the overall impression is of a text being read too fast. Based on the Riverhead hardcover (Forecasts, Aug. 26). (Sept.)