Wait and See, Annie Lee
"'I never even had an arrow before, let alone a target. And dammit
I want a bull's-eye or I'm going to throw a tantrum.' The next day
she purchased $47 worth of ovulation kits at the pharmacy."
Annie Lee Fleck is the personification of female irrationality. I
can say that with authority because, unfortunately, I recognize
feminine illogic from personal experience and I have on occasion
used much the same type of thinking as the title character.
However, notwithstanding her various flaws, Annie Lee quickly
becomes a personality you care about, despite the urge to take her
by the shoulders and shake her hard to restore sound
Set in the fictional winter resort of Pike, Colorado, WAIT AND SEE,
ANNIE LEE begins with our heroine on the phone to Poison Control.
In the process of making an inquiry about a bona fide problem, she
invents a nonexistent child and embroiders an entire set of
circumstances to go along with the toddler. In the weeks that
follow the first call, her need to dial up someone to discuss her
"daughter's" manifold mishaps snowballs into a near obsession. She
approaches her husband about trying to have a baby, a pursuit he at
first enthusiastically embraces. But, when their efforts fail to
bear fruit, Annie Lee sinks even further into her destructive
fixation, employing ever more tenuous fertility rituals and
wandering far away from normal behavior. Her husband, heretofore
endlessly patient, finally snaps and takes a head-clearing break
away from his wife's accusing glares, periods of abstinence,
lethargy, and depression. When he leaves, the fun begins, along
with some much-needed introspection.
Michelle Curry Wright's first novel is full of richly drawn
characters, almost too full, each with his own set of peculiar
quirks and imaginative monikers. The author seems to enjoy naming
her cast as much as Annie Lee enjoys naming her paints, another
compulsion that seizes her frequently. Each room in the Flecks'
historic home is lovingly dressed with Canary in Your House, Ada's
Lilac Apron, Berrywinkle, or some other equally unique tint
distinctly befitting just the one space. The kitchen, sporting
Pewter Platter, is regularly peopled with colorful folks like Bea
and Eudora Winkleman, spinster sisters residing right next door, a
pair not easily dismissed. They spew forth wise adages throughout
the story and sometimes toss in a cooking tip or two. The neighbors
on the other side don't drop in as much as does their young teenage
daughter, Megan, who surprises Annie and the reader with opinions
more mature than Annie's own. The entertainment continues with a
couple of romantic side trips among the wait staff at Mathilde's,
the local fine dining spot where Annie Lee works. And then there's
the irresistible impulse that overtakes her when an overdressed and
overbearing customer loses a gigantic diamond in the restaurant.
Here, Annie Lee's good judgment continues to elude her, surfacing
almost too late to be of any use.
The story's tone is predominantly light, only rarely straying into
a short downturn --- a welcome respite from the cleverness of the
author's creative exuberance. It's a lively read, with some lovely
descriptive prose to stop and appreciate along the way.
WAIT AND SEE, ANNIE LEE is not great literature, nor does it
pretend to be. This book is a pleasant night draped over the arm of
the Heron Wing Blue recliner, quickly devoured, leaving a good
taste in the reader's mouth. Happy ending? Wait and see.
Reviewed by Kate Ayers (KateAyersis@Home.com) on January 24, 2011
Wait and See, Annie Lee
- Publication Date: August 8, 2001
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 280 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
- ISBN-10: 0446526908
- ISBN-13: 9780446526906