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Anybody Any Minute    by Julie Mars order for
Anybody Any Minute
by Julie Mars
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

Ellen Kenny wasn't really unhappy about losing her job as chief researcher for Reginald Eubanks, an independent producer-director of political documentaries. Reginald was an extremely unpleasant person and after four years, her salary still wasn't great. The problem was, though, that Ellen was forty-six, and she had worked at and lost many jobs over the years, which wasn't going to make her new job search easy.

Also, she had called Reginald an unprintable name right in front of the whole crew, so he was unlikely to give her a glowing recommendation for her next job. She decided that she needed to get away from the New York rat race for awhile, so she drove to Montreal to visit her sister, and on the way, she used her credit card to buy a house.

It was an old farmhouse in need of a lot of repairs, picturesque and peaceful, and such a bargain that she just whipped out her credit card and bought it. She drove on to Montreal to visit her sister and nephew before returning and tackling the house, which turned out to be much more work than she had contemplated. Her husband, Tom, thought that she'd lost her mind, and during her first few days and nights in the house - with the roof leaking like a sieve, no electricity, and no running water - she wondered if he was right.

At first she intended to spend one summer in the house, fixing it up, starting a garden, and just getting away from the unpleasantness of the last job and the noise of the big city for a while. She meets a couple of her neighbors, acquires a dog that seems to have sleeping sickness, and starts digging a garden by hand in her first few days in the house. Little by little, as the electricity is connected, the water turned on, and Rodney starts to repair her roof, she settles in, but she never settles down. Ellen is not a calm person. Nothing seems to make her happy, and she carries on about her problems over and over again.

Anybody Any Minute is funny at times, quirky and odd at others and all of the people are real characters, but somehow it's too long. Everybody, including the reader, gets annoyed with Ellen. She is so neurotic and she just won't stop talking, and there's hope that maybe she's going to learn something and change, but whether that happens remains up in the air. The changes that occur seem to happen to everyone except Ellen. And yet, the novel is kind of fun to read.

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