book review

An excellent book, copyright 2009, written with humor about a newly-retired, old-fashioned, gay lawyer, his eccentric ex-wife's rocky entry into widowhood, and his now-adult stepdaughter's re-entry into his quiet life. Since newbie writer's are encouraged to seriously study first sentences so they can create their own first sentence that sparkles, how does Lipman, author of nine previous books, begin this one?

Henry Archer did not attend his ex-wife’s husband’s funeral, but he did send a note of condolence. The former Denise Archer wrote back immediately and urgently: Would he believe, after twenty-four reasonably happy years, that life as she knew it had been snatched out from under her?
— The Family Man by Elinor Lipman

A sparkly beginning? Well, maybe not sparkly but it grabs me. It makes me ask questions. Why would he even think to attend that funeral? And then there's the next sentence which clinches it for me.

Her postscript said, “Your number’s unlisted. Call me,” and there it was, a bridge he’d never planned to cross.
— The Family Man by Elinor Lipman

Why did he bother to send her a sympathy card? Obviously, he had felt no need to be in touch with her previously. And doesn't she sound needy as well as demanding?

Between the beginning paragraph, the title of Chapter 1 (I Hate You Still), and the cover flap description, I was hooked and each chapter continued to pull me and draw me into the world she had created and the eyes out of which I looked into her world. I needed that kind of a break from my own life.   

Have you ever found books which entered your life during a time in which you needed that specific type of book?