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American Girls About Town: They're Not Just the Girls Next Door ...    by Jennifer Weiner, Lauren Weisberger & Adriana Trigiani Amazon.com order for
American Girls About Town
by Jennifer Weiner
Order:  USA  Can
Downtown Press, 2005 (2005)
Softcover, Paperback

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* *   Reviewed by Kim Atchue-Cusella

American Girls About Town is a collection of 17 short chick-lit stories from 17 authors (both well-known names and those making their debut). Like any short story collection, they vary in quality.

Adriana Trigiani's My Great Brit Book Tour is a hilarious tale of a new mother embarking on tour to promote her book - what happens along the way will make you giggle. Five by Julianna Baggot features a woman who is on her fourth husband and divorce. She visits her sister and has to come to terms with why her marriages don't last. Claire LaZebnik's Leaving a Light On is a wonderfully written account of a woman meeting a man in a bar - they end up in a hotel room together, but the ending has a twist. In Moving Day by Cindy Chupack, a woman finds out that her husband may be gay. She tries to deal with the news and the ending is bittersweet. Lauren Henderson's Yoga Babe is about a materialistic and somewhat shallow girl who picks apart other people during a yoga class. Jennifer Weiner's The Truth About Nigel is the superbly written story of a woman who helps a fellow co-worker who is also newly hired. In a twisty conclusion, she ends up on a tabloid magazine connected to him.

Melissa Senate's Voodoo Dolls, C-Cups and Eminem is a hilarious story about an engaged woman who is getting hate mail. Completely befuddled by this, she's shocked when she finally figures out the culprit. I loved this one. The Bamboo Confessions by Lauren Weisberger is about a woman who decides to backpack in Vietnam against her boyfriend's and family's wishes. She makes wonderful friends and comes to important decisions while trekking through the country. Laura Wolf's Amore is the story of a woman who decided early on in life that her true love will be a foreigner. It was a funny read and I hope she found her man. Judi Hendricks' Andromeda on the Street of Ducklings is a beautiful love story that avoids the typical happy ever after ending. It stays with the reader for a long time. Chris Manby's Bad Manners is a great tale of a woman dating a complete jerk. While I wanted to climb through the story and whack the guy, its humor kept me reading.

I was less keen on Sarah Mlynowski's Two Month Itch, whose protagonist seemed very immature about relationships. Quinn Dalton's I Know a Woman - involving a woman, her ex-husband, and his other ex-wife - was another that just didn't grab me, nor did Lynda Curnyn's The Uncertainty Principle. But Just Visiting by Nancy Sparling is a laugh out loud story. Danni is horrified when her mother tells her that two girls are coming to spend time with her in London, one of them being her ex-fiancÚ's sister. And Jill Smolinski's Forty Days, starring a woman about to turn forty, is a great story for people who dread the big 4-0. And Gretchen Laskas' Small Worlds tells about a married woman going off to meet a man she met on the Internet. All in all, American Girls About Town is a great collection of short stories that are bound to keep you busy on a rainy afternoon. Many of them will make you laugh, and others will stay with you for their bittersweet endings.

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