Books: Cast of Characters
By Ray Saadi—Book Editor
FUNNY GIRL By Nick Hornby, Riverhead Books $27.95
“Funny Girl” is a very funny book, which is to be expected from Hornby. And funny is exactly what his heroine, Barbara Parker wants to be, like her idol, Lucille Ball. After winning the Miss Blackpool Beauty contest, she renounces her crown and skips out for London and the big time. Even though good comedy roles aren’t in the offing, she meets an agent who changes her name to Sophie Straw. When she’s offered a part in a new BBC sitcom, she tells the two writers that their script is definitely not funny and helps them with a total rewrite. Now, Sophie gets the lead and the show becomes a big hit and she becomes a super star for three straight seasons. But then, well, nothing lasts forever does it?
THE MARAUDERS By Tom Cooper, Crown $26.00
Tom Cooper’s picture of the effect of the double disasters of both Katrina and the BP oil spill on the residents of the small, fictional shrimping town of Jeanette is right on. The characters, all three dimensional: the one-armed Gus Lindquist, the pez-popping addict with his metal detector searching for Lafitte’s buried treasure; the psychopathic identical twin Toup brothers; Potheads Cosgrove and Hanson; Wes Trench, a young reluctant shrimper anxious for a better life and finally, the bedeviled Brady Grimes, a hack for BP trying to dupe the locals, even his own mother, into taking a quick check instead of suing the company. Told in alternating chapters, we’re taken into the humid swamp of Barataria where the shrimp are too small to make the work worthwhile and the air too hot to breathe and the alternatives few. It’s a page-turning triumph of a debut.