Lives of Value

Lives of Value

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Product details

  • Hardback | 448 pages
  • United Kingdom
  • 0747203970
  • 9780747203971

Review Text

Here, Cooper, the source of such sloppy California soaps as The Ladies of Beverly Hills (1983), tries her hand at a slightly more substantial story about the emotionally crippling effects of serious illness on a young woman and her older sister. Steffani Blacker is just five years old when she's diagnosed as having Gaucher's disease, an incurable and excruciatingly painful blood disorder. Though her parents, Lynnette (who forms a too-tight bond with Steffani's doctor) and Burt (a Hollywood talent agent), spend long years in fear, swaddling Stef in scalding "Sister Kenny pads" when she has a bout and trying to give the girl an otherwise normal upbringing, it's all for naught: Stef gets only worse, struggling through school, living in her perfect sister Suzanne's shadow, feeling subterraneanly enraged. Meanwhile, Suzanne marries "funny, sexy, authorative, ambitious, socially conscious, smart, Jewish, and good-looking" Alex Winston, bears three great kids, and becomes a famous trash novelist. But when things start falling apart for her - she's accused of plagiarism and framed for the attempted murder of a critic - Cohen leads her readers to suspect that sad but jealous little Stef has been engineering her sister's downfall. . . . The answer to the mystery is unsubtle and disappointing. Much better is Cohen's depiction of a family that grows like a dwarfed tree because of disease - which the author should have kept before her eyes, instead of letting her head be turned by silly and unlikely plot twists. (Kirkus Reviews)show more