Any Place I Hang My Hat

by Susan Isaacs

Amy Lincoln, associate editor at the serious news weekly In
, is covering Democratic presidential hopeful Senator
Bowles. The senator begins his campaign by announcing, "Our penile
system is in atrocious shape!" Amy's life is in even worse
condition. Phyllis, her mother, ran out when Amy was a baby, while
her father went to prison. Shoplifting Grandma Lil, who looked like
a member of the Potato Head family and wanted only to be upper
class, raised her. Amy's poverty granted her a scholarship in a
fancy boarding school --- and the chance to better herself while
exiting her tumultuous family life.

Amy attends a party for Senator Bowles when a young man appears and
claims to be the senator's son. Intrigued, Amy meets the boy,
Freddy, to hear his story. When Freddy asks how a parent can just
walk away from a child, Amy decides to call her father and search
out the truth about her mother. The underlying mystery of her life
can no longer be ignored, especially as she now wishes to have a
family of her own. Unfortunately, as her desire for a baby peaks,
her once-promising relationship declines. But Amy wonders if that's
all for the best since she can't help harboring fears that she
would follow her mother's pattern and become a defective,
abandoning parent.

At first, Amy's search for her mother parallels her investigation
of Senator Bowles's past. Then her own personal search takes off on
its own, leading Amy to meet with some interesting characters, and
skulk about like a detective. The more she discovers about her
parent, the more mysteries unfurl before her. For example, if
Phyllis came from a wealthy background, why did her upwardly
aspiring mother-in-law detest her? Why hasn't Phyllis made any
attempt to track Amy down?

As Amy inquires into her mother's life, and her own, her work
provides a sometimes-interfering backdrop (leading Amy to muse that
movie heroines don't seem to spend much time at employment). She
also finds herself longing for her ex-boyfriend with passion, even
as she half-heartedly searches for a likely successor. However, her
yearning for John is hopeless; he has made it plain that the
relationship is over. Is it a matter of her wanting only what she
knows she can't have?

Amy's voice, and the funny little zingers throughout her story,
along with the fascinating puzzle of Phyllis, hooked me. Add to
that mix Amy's wealthy and quirky best friend, her endless craving
for her nice guy ex-boyfriend, her bizarre upbringing, and a peek
into the workings of a newsmagazine. Despite my few initial
misgivings regarding much back-story and many subplots (at first I
thought they tended to slow the plot; I soon grew to love them) I
found ANY PLACE I HANG MY HAT to be an absorbing, enjoyable


Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon ( on December 22, 2010

Any Place I Hang My Hat
by Susan Isaacs

  • Publication Date: October 5, 2004
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • ISBN-10: 0743242157
  • ISBN-13: 9780743242158