Other books byLaura Pedersen
“There could be no doubt left in anyone’s mind that my life had all the makings of a country-and-western song.” The second of seven children (with another on the way), Hallie Palmer has one dream: to make it to Vegas. Normally blessed with an uncanny gift for winning at games of chance, she’s just hit a losing streak. She’s been kicked out of the casino she frequents during school hours, lost all her money for a car on a bad bet at the track, and has been grounded by her parents. Hallie decides the time as come to cut her losses. Answering an ad in the local paper, she lands a job as yard person at the elegant home of the sixty-ish Mrs. Olivia Stockton, a wonderfully eccentric rebel who scribes acclaimed poetry along with the occasional soft-core porn story. Under the same wild roof is Olivia’s son, Bernard, an antiques dealer and gourmet cook who turns out mouthwatering cuisine and scathing witticisms, and Gil, Bernard’s lover, whose down-to-earth sensibilities provide a perfect foil to the Stocktons’ outrageous joie de vivre. Here, in this anything-goes household, Hallie has found a new family. And she’s about to receive the education of her life. From a wonderful new voice in fiction comes the freshest and funniest novel to barrel down the pike since Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café. In Beginner’s Luck, Laura Pedersen introduces us to the endearing oddballs and eccentrics of Cosgrove County, Ohio, who burst to life and steal our hearts–and none more so than Hallie Palmer, sixteen, savvy, and wise beyond her years, a young woman who knows life is a gamble . . . and sometimes you have to bet the house.
This vibrant memoir about growing up in upstate New York during the 1970s shares the humorous ups and downs of the Pedersen family. Combining laugh-out-loud humor with a genuine slice of social history, New York Times writer Laura Pedersen paints a vivid portrait of an era.
Card sharp and former wild child Hallie Palmer is in college now–and Bernard Stockton, her legal guardian, has suddenly appeared during final exams. He’s hysterical about his recent breakup with his longtime boyfriend, Gil, and wants to enlist Hallie in a scheme to win Gil back. So Hallie returns to Cosgrove County, Ohio, for the summer, to her job as live-in yard person for Bernard and his delightfully oddball mother, Olivia. Also present are Ottavio, Olivia’s hot-tempered Italian lover, who’s desperate for a wedding; Rocky, a chimpanzee who’s one Singapore Sling away from an AA meeting for primates; and Hallie’s own ever-expanding family, which she fled as soon as she could slide down the drainpipe. Around town, folks assume that since Hallie isn’t in jail, she clearly has no problems of her own and can therefore tackle theirs. But Hallie has plenty of troubles–a looming tuition bill, gambling temptations, and an ex-boyfriend who’s back in town for the summer to upset any potential if highly unlikely (a girl can dream!) romantic flings. Yet as Hallie and company navigate life’s unexpected paths of games lost and love found, the real truth begins to emerge: With friends, family, and a place to call home, your heart’s desire is always within reach. From the Trade Paperback edition.
The Big Shuffle
“We’re approaching Cat in the Hat level chaos and no one’s even had breakfast yet.” When the death of her father leaves her mother bereft and incapacitated, card shark Hallie Palmer returns home from college to raise Hallie’s eight younger siblings. Hallie’s older brother has a scholarship and a sensible major–which translates to free tuition and desperately needed future income for the family. So it’s up to Hallie to deal herself in as head of the chaotic household. But even after the invasion of those well-meaning, casserole-carrying purveyors of comfort the local church ladies, Hallie’s in a downward spiral. Thank goodness for old friends like Bernard and Gil, now proud parents, who keep Hallie afloat with good humor, brilliant organizational skills, and Judy Garland’s most quotable quotes–not that life is entirely peaceful now that Bernard’s wise, willful, and delightfully outrageous mother, Olivia, is back from Europe with a big (and shockingly young) surprise. Through it all, Hallie discovers that life can indeed turn on a dime, and that every coin has two sides plus an edge. Just because beginner’s luck doesn’t always last forever doesn’t mean you’re out of the game.