39. Mercury in Retrograde

a novel
by Paula Froelich

I saw a review recently that gave this book one star.  I totally disagree.  This book was funny, smart and entertaining. 

The book is named for the title character, Penelope Mercury, who is a struggling reporter at a mid-level, slightly tabloid-y newspaper.  The opening pages find Penelope having a serious FML day as she has to chase a story in the freezing cold with a photographer who won’t let her ride in her car, while she battles a horrible head cold and a tyrannical boss.  Also featured are Lena Lippencrass, a socialite who takes her status and her shopping very seriously, and Dana Gluck, a recently divorced attorney who has now devoted her days to making partner at her firm. When circumstances find them all living in the same apartment building in Soho, the women become friends and each others support system.

Now, this could have been just another chick lit, Sex and the City type knock-off, but a couple of things set it apart.  First, the women are all from different social and income strata but are still able to bond over other commonalities.  Second, the author is a Page Six columnist and she infuses the book with a lot of real-life stories that she has culled from her newspaper (details and names have been changed of course to protect the guilty). What results is an at times hilarious story about social-climbing, women’s friendships, and new beginnings.

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