Review

Late Night Talking

by Leslie Schnur

Jeannie Sterling is the proud host of her own late-night radio
talk show, "Sterling Behavior." She is on the air in the early
morning hours, blasting rude and inconsiderate people and their
behavior. Be it throwing wads of gum on the street, not scooping up
doggie poop, or throwing trash on the side of the road, Jeannie
believes it's her job to point these faults out to the world in
order to help make her section of New York a better place to
live.

Jeannie encounters business tycoon Nicholas Moss on the street
early one morning as he's driving his friend's SUV while talking on
a cell phone, one of Jeannie's many pet peeves. When his vehicle
stops for a moment, she has an unforgettable encounter with him.
Moss later hears about this very incident on the radio, retold by
Jeannie on her show, as she gives a piece of her own mind to the
man who drove the Hummer while chatting away on his cell.

Little does Jeannie know the huge impression she left on Moss or
that he wants to take revenge by buying out the radio station. He
hopes to put a little fear in her life for a while, but he also
can't stop thinking about her; although she annoyed him, he feels a
deep attraction for her.

The radio show eventually goes live on the street, and then Moss
decides it's time for "Sterling Behavior" to transition to
television. He predicts great things for Jeannie, if only she
pushes it a bit more. Jeannie does, and now she can't seem to stop
her near-vigilante attempts at fixing the world, seeing only one
thing: her vision of how to make the world right.

While Jeannie's career takes off flying, her relationships change
for the worse. Best friend Luce, the producer of her radio show, is
keeping a secret from Jeannie --- and when Jeannie finds out, she
feels hurt, not understanding why Luce felt the need to keep such
big news from her. Jeannie also has begun dating her longtime best
friend, Tommy, about whom Luce has had a few doubts. Jeannie
doesn't notice these negative qualities in Tommy, and is almost
angry with Luce for thinking them. Then there is Jeannie's absent
father, who makes a reappearance in her life along with a mutt
named "Mouse." It's through these relationships that one can almost
gauge where Jeannie's personal life is going, as it takes her a
while to learn who the most important people in her life are and
who she can do without.

Although she is afraid to admit it, the most important person right
now is Moss. A man who came along and almost ruined her radio
career by buying out the station, he actually is someone who is
more in tune with her than Tommy ever will be.

LATE NIGHT TALKING is interspersed with dialogue from Jeannie's
shows, and through the exchanges between Jeannie and Luce, we get
to see what the program and Jeannie herself are all about. The more
I got to know her, however, the less I liked her. And I think this
was author Leslie Schnur's intention. I started to get irritated by
Jeannie's holier-than-thou attitude and her need to point out
everyone's faults and errors, no matter how minute. Those around
her eventually find her behavior on the show appalling. Jeannie, we
learn, is a very self-centered person. While she appears to love
her friends, there is something missing in her personality that
prevents her from really caring about them for who they are.

Any book that makes me feel as angry as I did at a fictional
character has to be good. There were moments when I wanted to
admire Jeannie for taking a stance on issues and topics that bother
the average person. Unfortunately, though, most of the time she is
living with blinders on, too full of her self-importance and her
need to fix the world. While she did redeem herself in the end, her
transformation from a self-centered, driven woman to a
compassionate individual happened much too quickly for me to
believe. Nevertheless, the story is well-written and I will
certainly take a look at Schnur's debut novel, THE DOG
WALKER.

Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton on January 7, 2011

Late Night Talking
by Leslie Schnur

  • Publication Date: May 15, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atria
  • ISBN-10: 0743288246
  • ISBN-13: 9780743288248