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She Is Me    by Cathleen Schine order for
She Is Me
by Cathleen Schine
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2003 (2003)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Intriguing title. What's it all about? Well, take three generations of women, add debilitating cancer, and intertwine it all with Gustave Flaubert's classic, Madame Bovary.

Grandma Lotte is considered 'a pistol' by all her doctors. She's dying of skin cancer, but she goes about it with spirit and style. Then there's her landscaper daughter Greta, married to a doctor and with a grown-up son Josh and a daughter, Elizabeth. Elizabeth is an academic, very much not married to her significant other Brett (he wants to, she doesn't), but they share a delight in their three-year-old son Harry.

Out of the blue, Elizabeth is offered a big Hollywood opportunity, to write the screenplay for a very modern Madame Bovary. This leads to her toying with the idea of adultery (which of course it's not really as she isn't married) with the Hollywood bigshot (Larry Volfman) who hires her. In parallel, Greta has her own problems, is stretched thin by Lotte's continual demands, and is puzzled by her feelings for Elizabeth's new director, Daisy.

I kept wondering ... which she is intended to be which me? Two of this generational trio contemplate adultery, while another pair copes with cancer. And then there are the frequent she is me comparisons with Madame Bovary's life and times.

She Is Me is polished tragi-farce about wonderful, entertaining women, full of character, living and dying to the hilt.

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