Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lisa Scottoline and her daughter ask: “Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?”

Prolific mystery writer Lisa Scottoline and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, have released their sixth collection of short essays designed to appeal to women readers. From the jacket copy: “The unstoppable, irreverent mother-daughter team presents a collection of funny stories and true confessions that
every woman can relate to.” The two also write a weekly column for The Philadelphia Inquirer called “Chick Wit.”

Their 290 page book, Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat? contains seventy-seven very short pieces, fifty-one by Lisa and twenty-six by Francesca. Reading them is a little like reading the diaries of two women who are certain you’ll be reading them and thus want to make their lives sound as interesting as possible.

The topics they cover are varied. Scottoline writes about her pets, her long time “besties,” her Mother Mary (who dies from advanced lung cancer), her bike and her bad back. Serritella, who lives in New York City, writes about dating, breaking up, gym memberships, The Girl Code, and her own girlfriends. Many of the pieces are amusing; a few are sad.

The best character to emerge is Mother Mary, the tough-as-nails family matriarch who always told Lisa, “Don’t take any crap,” although she used a more graphic term, we are told. When her illness robs her of her ability to speak, she uses a dry erase board to issue her pithy views, curses, and commands.

Perhaps Kirkus Review (4/14/15) said it best:

There are countless readers for whom a book is akin to a truffle, a small, sweet, delicate treat lacking in anything particularly sustaining. Often, it’s as much about having others know you’re enjoying it as it is about actually enjoying it. Here, bestselling novelist Scottoline and her daughter Serritella…deliver another truffle of a book. It is about nothing but enjoyment, a nudge-nudge, wink-wink narrative about womanhood in all of its messy, wonderful glory (well, “all” from the viewpoint of two well-to-do white women)… The topics are mostly the same as in their previous books, many similar to those Bombeck covered far more dynamically in her many bestsellers…

A silly, featherweight confection that will only appeal to the authors’ many fans.

Given that Lisa Scottoline has thirty million books in print, that’s a lot of fans to which it will appeal.

The earlier Scottoline-Serritella collaborations include: Have a Nice Guilt Trip, Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space, and Best Friends, Occasional Enemies.

Lisa Scottoline is the author of twenty four novels and has won the Edgar Award for suspense writing. She is the president of Mystery Writers of America. For more, see

Francesca Serritella graduated cum laude from Harvard University where she won the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, the Le Baron Russell Briggs Fiction Prize, and the Charles Edmund Horman Prize for her creative writing. She is presently working on her debut novel.

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