Monday, November 26, 2007

Amy Holman Edelman, Manless in Montclair

This was such a warm, funny book that I have no qualm's about recommending it to you. Manless in Montclair starts with Isabel's husband dropping dead just as she returns from having her teeth whitened. When a book starts with a bang, (or a thud in this case) you know it's going to be good. After waiting a lengthy time to get back into the dating world, Isabel tries several different tactics to find a new daddy, as her daughter requests. Isabel doesn't find love from the blind dates and Internet dating scenes, so she enlists the help of her friends. She offers a vacation to the person who ends up helping Isabel find a husband. The idea is that her friends are great people so they must know great people and so on, and one of those great people might happen to be a single guy who is looking for love with a young widow.

Manless in Montclair is based on author Amy Holman Edelman's real life experience. You can read an excerpt here and read about Amy's own search for a husband here. I enjoyed the quick pace of the book, Amy's humor and I think if we met, we would be friends, she seems very cool. Plus she lives in New Jersey, my home state so she's automatically fabulous.

How much of the book was taken from your real life experiences?

The easy answer is quite a bit, but much of the story has been mixed around, some characters have been combined or made-up completely and my real-life sister was never bulimic!

Everyone knows I'm a Jersey girl. I was through Montclair a time or two. What are some things you love (too strong a word? okay, like) like about NJ?

Well...I'm a Philadelphia girl (although my new husband is a Jersey Guy!), so how about if we start about things I love about Montclair? The diversity, the large creative community (including writers and artists), the architecture, the foliage (it's fall now).

What will we find you doing on a Saturday night?

Hanging with the hubby and the kids (who may or may not have a friend sleeping over).

What is your favorite room in your house? office/sunroom/family room. Tons of sun!!

Where do you go when you want to unwind from life’s pressures?

Also easy...a movie or a trip to the Short Hills Mall (another thing I LOVE about New Jersey!!)

So...who ended up winning that trip anywhere in the world?

First, I should say I capped it at $3 grand. And 2nd, no one! My husband's sister introduced us but it wasn't really contest related. That said, we really should at least buy her dinner!

What is the biggest life lesson you've learned this far?

A few...all big. The first is patience. The second is that there are some things in life you can't control (that's where the trust the universe stuff comes in) and the last (which I kind of knew already) is to appreciate all you have in your life, as opposed to what you've lost.

When you get sad or depressed or frustrated, how do you snap out of the funk?

See above re: life's pressures. Also, hanging with the kids usually helps.

Tell me about your journey to becoming a published writer?

Well, this is my third book. The first, The Fashion Resource Directory, was originally self-published and later bought by Fairchild Publications. The second, The Little Black Dress, is a coffee table book, published by Simon & Schuster in '97. But I guess you would say my journey to becomming a published writer officially began in Fire Island about 30 years ago when I had an idea for a book and someone else had a friend who was an agent. If it wasn't for Lisa Bankoff (still at ICM), the rest might never have happened.

And last- what's next for you? Hopefully another fun book!

I'm not sure what's next, but I do hope it includes another book (or, fingers crossed...a screenplay!).

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Blogger Toni Lea Andrews said...
Adding this book to my must read list... @ 10:54 AM  
Blogger Jodi said...
Amy --- I feel like I can call you that. I don't know how this can be but you must have been channeling my current life. 99% of this book could have been my life. I mean it. I was married to my college sweetheart (he was only 1 yr older) when after 18 yrs of being together he was killed while out jogging (he too was a health nut). Jim (from New Jersey) was was the love of my life. We lived in Hawaii for most of those years and we had two wonderful children. My children lost their father when they were 8 and 3. I see him in them everyday. After all the hearings of the guy who killed my husband ( the guy was high on drugs). We got on with trying to find our "new normal". It has been four years now and well -- I ask everyday if this is the new normal. I too started dating at 1 1/2 yrs after our loss. The loneliness was at times physically painful. I went through the "re-do" of myself, the hilarious guys - the counting - the mindless sex at times and the finding of a friend with benefits. I too had the shortlist of wonderful friends who continued to check in with me as their lives went back to normal after the services and all. So many things reminded me of our lives in your book -- the never folding the jeans right -- that was me - Jim took over our laundry. I worked in publishing (magazines) and Jim was an advertising writer extraordinaire. He was hilarious and everyone wanted to be around him. My son, the youngest, too had stomach problems and had a scan - luckily all turned out well. My kids slept with me for one year - and my son would often wake and ask that I not die and that his sister not die as well. We have talked many times of me writing a book - but I can't now -- you did it for me. And the joke was that Demi Moore would play me --- I have her voice I have often been told. I also have a long thin nose from my jewish heritage. Bruce Willis would play my husband Jim since they too looked similar. And the characters who have filled my limited dating life -- who knows who could play those silly souls. One thing I know -- I have learned so much from our loss. I can do this alone but it sure would be nice to have someone again. My daughter does not want me to remarry as she also believes he would be a stranger to us and it would be difficult to establish another person in the house. The idea of making one more major decision alone scares me. I know I can do it and with all of the mistakes I have made I regret none of them and say that I have learned from every last one. My children are fantastic - my sons still asks men if they will marry me. I laugh and they seem too as well. Amy --- really - I would love to chat with you personally - I too feel like we we would be friends. Your style is so refreshing but maybe it was that I was so comfortable reading about "myself". I know now to trust the universe and all will fall into place for us. THANK YOU so much for your fantastic book. I am working with a widow to widow group and this will certainly come in handy for those ready to explore. @ 8:20 PM  
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