Review

Faking It

by Jennifer Crusie



Meet the Goodnight family, a disarming group of art forgers who
have many secrets hidden beneath the surface of their schizophrenic
lives. Gwenie, the mother and owner of the art gallery her husband
created is fed up --- her only interest is in doing acrostics. Eve,
her oldest daughter, is divorced from her gay husband Andrew, who
lives with her and keeps his male lover close by; their teenage
daughter, Nadine, is a smart, savvy kid who rolls her eyes with
each new tidal wave that splashes across the canvas of their lives.
And when close brushes with catastrophe arise, Tilda, the youngest
Goodnight daughter and lynchpin of the group, goes into "save the
family" mode.

Tilda paints murals. She has built a business and reputation by
turning walls into canvases upon which she paints "forgeries" of
great art. "Matilda Goodnight stepped back from her latest mural
and realized that of all the crimes she'd committed in her
thirty-four years, painting the floor to ceiling reproduction of
van Gogh's sunflowers on Clarissa Donnelly's dining room wall was
the one that was going to send her to hell. 'I gave you a nice
talent,' [God] was going to say to her on Judgment Day, 'and this
is what you did with it.'"

The moment that thought passes through Tilda's mind her cell phone
rings and she is immediately drawn into the latest Goodnight
debacle. Her niece, Nadine, sold a "Scarlet," and the world as it
had been, is never to be the same again. From this point on,
Jennifer Crusie's fifth novel goes into an offbeat tale about an
eclectic collection of kooky characters who live their lives
"faking it."

When Tilda was a little girl, her father, a bad painter but
successful gallery owner, recognized her natural talent and taught
her how to paint. He then put her to work as "Scarlet," a
fictitious young painter who produced only six canvases. No one
knew who "Scarlet" was, and the value of her paintings rose in
proportion to the mystery surrounding her identity. Now that the
last of those paintings has surfaced and has been inadvertently
sold, it must be recovered. Tilda sets out to steal it back.

Gwen, the Goodnight matriarch, finesses a dinner invitation from
the painting's new owner. When she arrives, she finagles the door
so that it will be open for Tilda, who then is able to sneak into
the apartment. Fear of being discovered forces Tilda to hide in the
woman's closet. Here, she literally "bumps" into Davy, who is also
hiding in the closet. He is there to steal back three million
dollars from this same woman. They quickly join forces, become
lovers, and find themselves elbow to elbow with a hit man, an FBI
agent, a cat burglar, a sociopath, and a buffoon.

Jennifer Crusie's farcical portrait of thieves and con artists is
written in a breezy style punctuated by a constant barrage of
wisecracks threaded throughout with lines from old movies and
lyrics from early rock and roll songs. She adds absurd bits of
"philosophical observations" and Goodnight truisms, like: handsome
men are doughnuts, pretty on the outside but after a few hours
sticky and tasteless after one bite; other men are muffins, they
can be pretty too, but their major attraction is that they are more
interesting and they have an inherent ability to achieve staying
power.

These nutty notions seem almost plausible in the context of the
silly plot of FAKING IT. Crusie draws her characters well, and we
are given a real sense of who they are --- sort of --- warts and
all. Readers should be ready to be taken on a Disneyworld-like ride
through this latest contribution to the land of humorous
fiction.

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on January 21, 2011

Faking It
by Jennifer Crusie

  • Publication Date: April 14, 2003
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0312983824
  • ISBN-13: 9780312983826