Chairman Wow!

November 16, 2009

Book Review: All This Heavenly Glory by Elizabeth Crane

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carly J Hallman @ 12:45 pm

Elizabeth Crane can write a sentence. A sprawling, two-page long, don’t-you-dare-stop-to-breathe sentence. The kind of sentence whose length would be more at home in a tedious reading assignment from an academic journal than in a for-pleasure novel. The kind of sentence that could very, very easily turn readers off. But, Elizabeth Crane can really write a sentence.

All This Heavenly Glory,” which follows the quiet childhood, goody-goody adolescence, and alcohol and neuroses-fueled adulthood of one Charlotte Anne Byers, is fresh enough in its voice and startling enough in its painfully-honest content that it’s easy to overlook Crane’s quirky, often long-winded writing style. From junior high fashion disputes with a best friend who insists upon dressing like “twins” to a desperate, all-too-honest glimpse at what career success means for a woman’s dating life (read: little), protagonist and aspiring screenwriter Charlotte Anne allows us an all-access look at single life in pre- and post- September 11 New York. Although a neurotic narrator is often off-putting, Charlotte Anne’s verges on three-dimensional, and ultimately, readers will sympathize with her– if only because, deep down, they know they are just as beautifully flawed.

“All This Heavenly Glory,” published in 2005, straddles the line between bookstore categories Literary Fiction and Chick Lit. While there’s plenty here for male and female readers alike to appreciate, and while “Glory” is no Candace Bushnell Prada-fest, Crane doesn’t shy away from the gossip and games of the girl-world. But, boy or girl, literary-fan or chick lit-lover, if you’ve got the sentence-stamina, “Glory’s” story will win you over.

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