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    Review of DON'T MAKE A SCENE by Valerie Block (see her website)

    Review by Cathy Richard Dodson (see her website)

    Ballantine, July 2007

    Diane Kurasik runs a Greenwich Village art house cinema, so comparing life to movies is a regular habit. Lately however, the movies she seems to be most in league with are dramas, the ones where you're really not sure how things are going to work out in the end. The plot point driving the current action is that Diane's apartment building is about to face the wrecking ball, and when you've lived in New York City with controlled rent for the past ten years, finding something affordable is pretty much impossible! Diane's options appear to be homelessness or moving back 'home' with Mom and Dad-neither particularly attractive to an independent woman about to turn forty!

    In the midst of all this turmoil comes an unexpected renovation and expansion of the cinema, which leads Diane straight into the arms of Cuban architect Vladimir Hurtado. As it cools, she finds herself suddenly confronted with an attraction she'd never have imagined for herself-Vladimir's teenage soon, Javier. Of course this relationship opens an even more dramatic turn of events that her recent eviction, and she must confront parents, family, and friends-not to mention Vlad himself-before determining if this younger man is someone with whom she can have a 'real' future.

    If you don't like stories about New York City people and lifestyle, you're not going to like this book. It's definitely a look at the vast array of personalities and the dramas they face on a daily basis. Personally, I don't particularly care for Block's books-I also read Was It Something I Said?-but they certainly provide a clear picture of the uniqueness of life in the 'big apple.' I didn't feel she did a particularly good job in the book of tying in Diane's relationship with 'film' to the story, character, and plot-the mentions of specific movies felt tacked on to me. But the reader who favors a light-hearted story written around unusual characters will probably find this book to their tastes.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 8/26/07

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