It’s 1995. When she can, Sybil Weatherfield works as an office temp. But in her jobless hours she may be her generation’s Dorothy Parker, writing a confessional column for the alternative weekly, New York Shock. Her friends include a paperpusher for a human rights organization and the lead singer of a local rock band called Glass Half Empty. Together they try to find a path from their own wry inactivity to something real and lasting that can matter to them. Richly funny and wincingly specific, this cunning debut novel is a bittersweet and ironic look at what it means to be enthralled by an idea—by even the most ragged possibility of love.
“Jennifer Spiegel’s New York moment, her sweet tilt on Miss Lonelyhearts, is loose among us like a confession, a letter, gossip, an advice column without boundaries.” - Ron Carlson
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Now I was dealing with God. That’s right. God had gotten involved. I prayed. I knew he had abandoned me too. I tried to make a deal. Dear God, I began, no more chocolate. I’d offer to give up sex, but I wasn’t having any. Dear God, I know you hate me, but please, God, please. Let me have a lousy pair of tickets. Show me that you haven’t abandoned me. Tickets, God. Not money, not power, not Johnny Depp. Just two Pearl Jam tickets. Let me get my way once. Let me see Eddie.
I went over the details of my life. I took subways. I drank cappuccino in trendy cafés named after European composers. I knew where to buy my bagels. I knew the place to walk my dog. I had gay friends. I lied about listening to Howard Stern. I voted Democratic. I was for cheap sex, cheap beer, and low-income housing. I lived in the Village and I didn’t eat red meat and I smoked when I drank and I was open-minded, user-friendly, acquiescent, accommodating, compliant. . . .
As evening approached, it took everything in me to put the receiver down. It rang—my mother! I burst into tears. When I told her what I was doing (it was now Saturday), she said, “Go for a walk.”
On the streets, I only stopped once by a pay phone to try again. Near Astor Place—my head pounding, my nose running—I held my arms up to the heavens and said, “For the love of God, somebody please help me!” Okay, so I never did that. But people do.
I went home and baked a potato. While baking, my skin grazed the grill, searing the fleshy web between thumb and index finger on my right hand. I lovingly put the wound to my mouth. I ran my tongue over it. I tasted it, savored it: my war wound. My Pearl Jam scar. Little Eddie.
Everyone should have a scar like this.