Allison Brinkley - wife, mother, and former unflappable optimist - discovers that a carefully weighed decision to pack up and move her family from suburban Dallas to the glittery chaos of Manhattan may have been more complicated than she and her husband initially thought.
Allison's romantic view of New York quickly crumbles: the Brinkleys' apartment is neither pre-war elegant nor penthouse chic; the schools they carefully selected for their kids are low on charm and high on price; and her husband's gorgeous colleague seems to be spending more time with him than Allison.
And then, just when she thinks there is light at the end of the tunnel, things get worse; an embarrassing fender bender leads to an unlikely role for her as a spoiled teen idol's personal assistant, a job that's one part wrangler, one part mother. But the thankless tasks and outlandish duties may just end up bringing her into the heart of the city itself.
I liked Limelight a whole lot. I have to admit, though, that what got to me initially was a bunch of references that I could relate to personally. Even though you didn't ask for this list, I'm giving it to you anyway.
1. We learn that a neighbor in Dallas brings Allison a plate of homemade snickerdoodles. When our 13 (almost 14)-year old granddaughter, Haley, was very young, Joni used to watch her on Fridays. And they always stopped off at our local bakery, Icing on the Cake, so that Haley could get her snickerdoodle. That was fine until Haley could talk. One day Joni was walking with Haley and the parents. When they passed Icing, Haley yelled "snickerdoodle!" Busted.
2. On page 158, Glenn Close is mentioned. I read that page the exact same day that Joni and I saw Close in The Wife!
3. Allison's husband is tasked one morning with waking up the kids for school. He did it the exact same way I did it when our kids were growing up: "He never woke them up in a sunny, silly way, like dads do in the movies. No singing songs or tickling anyone. He would knock on the first door, crack it open, and say, 'Hey, time to get up, let's go, let's go.' and on down the line." Yep.
4. If you've had kids go away to college, you will definitely understand this quote. And if you haven't, pay close attention: "She's getting ready to fly the coop and probably wants to assert her independence." Again I say, yep.
5. There is a reference to James Corden's Carpool Karaoke. I read this right around the time I watched Corden's CK with Paul McCartney.
What does any of this have to do with the book? Probably not much. But they were fun references for me. What really matters, though, is how much I enjoyed Limelight. Howso, you ask? Let me count the ways:
1. Each and every character is interesting, whether he/she be major or minor.
2. There is a scene that takes place around a theater rehearsal that felt so real.
3. I really like the relationship between Allison's daughter, Charlotte, and our teen rebel, Carter.
4. The last part of the book felt like a bona fide mystery to me. That's how connected I was to the story and characters.
5. Not every close relationship between co-workers of the opposite gender has to lead to an affair. I'm not saying that's the case here...but it could be...but maybe it's not...but...oh just read it.
I highly recommend Limelight.