Picks and Pans


From People Magazine (September 17, 2001)

by Kyle Smith

Roll over, June Cleaver, and give Carol Brady the news: Meet the Drummonds, the all-star team of weird families, in a comic novel as rich as an ovenful of fresh-baked brownies and twice as nutty.

America's pride, astronaut Sarah Drummond, is about to blast into space despite being born with one hand. That's the newspaper story. The real story is her family and their biting, beating and cheating as they chase a card from Prince William to his mother that was taken from Diana's casket. The reluctant emcee of this freak show is mom Janet, who is shedding her regrets and growing into herself at 65. She's the boring one, except that she got AIDS from a bullet fired straight through her son by his father. Meet Me in St. Louis, this isn't. There will be no hugging.

Everyone with a strange family--that is, everyone with a family-- will laugh knowingly at the feuding, conducted with a maestro's ear for dialogue and a deep understanding of humanity. Coupland, once the wise guy of Generation X, has become a wise man. (Bloomsbury, $24.95) Bottom Line: A Disney World of dysfunction.