Lupe Klein is not Julia Roberts. She may look like Julia Roberts.
She may have the same sense of humor as Julia Roberts. And she may
find herself in the same situations as Julia Roberts. But she is
not Julia Roberts. She is especially not the Julia Roberts who
portrayed the astonishing stepmom in the movie of the same name.
You remember, the one in which the real mom is dying of cancer and
lovely Julia is waiting in the wings to mother her children and
comfort her husband.
In this case, lovely Lupe is already married to Ward; his ex-wife
Beatrix does not have cancer but is the victim of terminal
control-freakitis. And his three sons have become the pawns in this
all-too-typical blended family scenario.
While it's true that Loopy (the boys' nickname for her) could have
benefited from a snappy scriptwriter, she does an admirable job of
being stepmom to Ward's trying trio. Devin, Britt and Ollie are
basically good kids, pushing the parental boundaries but willing to
give her a fair chance if she doesn't crack under the strain. She
does well considering that she never has had any children of her
own to practice on.
I'M NOT JULIA ROBERTS is not so much a novel as it is a series of
episodes from "Knot's Landing" --- four or five yuppie couples live
on a cul-de-sac, creating endless drama and striving to get their
needs met regardless of who or what must be sacrificed. It is a
distressing but accurate commentary on life in a culture where the
divorce rate is over 50%. As a result, children in blended families
are cast in roles they were never meant to play: monsters,
matchmakers, gossip mongers. They also become understudies to the
adults, and when they come of age, many are destined to continue
the marriage, divorce and remarriage cycle.
If there is a lighter side to all of this, Laura Ruby has managed
to find it and captures the essence of each gender and age group in
a way that makes you smile knowingly or laugh out loud, depending
on how long ago it was that you dealt with these problems. For
example, Roxie is another of the "not Julia Roberts" moms and her
daughter, Liv, enjoys making her life miserable. "….Liv
discovered that devouring truck-loads of junk food in front of
Roxie…she of the perpetual diet…was a far more
effective and enjoyable brand of torture, especially since she
could burn it all off with one good hissy fit."
Generously sprinkled with candid observations and comic relief,
Laura Ruby has created a book with a serious theme and presented it
in a way that is sure to comfort already-blended families and
provide food for thought for those who have not yet taken that