Have a Nice Guilt Trip
This latest collection of humorous essays by prolific mystery writer Lisa Scottoline and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, will not disappoint their fans. In addition to the usual stories about pets, of which Lisa has many and Francesca has one, these pieces are peopled with familiar characters, like lab coat-wearing Mother Mary, brother Frank, various NYC folks, and Francesca's boyfriend.
Twice-divorced Lisa, who lives in a rural area near Philadelphia, is a woman of middle age who contemplates letting her hair grow gray and joins AARP after much thought because she isn't sure that a group whose membership roster contains both Mother Mary and her daughter is one she wants to join. She loves to rearrange her furniture, as it’s fun and free. She has discovered the delights of gummi vitamins but hopes they don't develop gummi Viagra. She works from home, and though she'll sweat out the oppressive summer weather without turning on her air conditioning for just one person, she spends inordinate amounts of money on her menagerie.
"Once again, these two delightful ladies share their private thoughts with us, and we are wiser and happier for it."
Daughter Francesca is a city dweller, who has mastered the mystery of surviving and thriving in New York City, living alone in her own apartment. She loves to window shop online and has a "wish list" of items she'd love to own but can't afford. Still, it's fun to dream. She even has a friend who knows exactly what clothes to put on Francesca's wish list. Francesca has become a regular customer at the farmer's market where she admires the handsome fisherman, but since her budget doesn't allow for purchasing his fresh fillets, she instead asks his advice on cooking seafood. And she learns all about the latest popular foods --- she can even speak "fluent kale."
Francesca dotes on her dog, Pip, and is proud of the tricks he can perform, though she doesn't have baby fever like her friend does. She knows the name of her neighbor's dog, but not the sex of her neighbor's newborn. She agonizes over what to pack for her first vacation with her boyfriend. She wants to look great for every occasion, but soon realizes that she mainly hopes just to enjoy her trip and not spend too much time accessorizing.
Once again, these two delightful ladies share their private thoughts with us, and we are wiser and happier for it. Sadly, Mother Mary passed away in April at the age of 90, but her spirit lives on in Lisa and Francesca.
Reviewed by Carole Turner on July 11, 2014