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The Ghost of Greenwich Village: A Novel by…
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The Ghost of Greenwich Village: A Novel

by Lorna Graham

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While The Ghost of Greenwich Village by Lorna Graham kept my attention (it's short and mostly fast-paced), it was awfully cheesy and silly.

The main character, Eve Weldon, is supposed to be in her late thirties (she says she was born in 1974), but she seems more like a teenager with her inexperience and naivete. Eve has lived all her life in Ohio. After she graduated from college, she immediately went to work as a paralegal for her father's law firm, where she apparently stayed for over ten years.

Eve's mother died when she was eight (though from some of the mature memories Eve shares about her mother, one would think she was at least twelve) and always told Eve about the time she lived in Greenwich Village in the sixties. So at the urging of a college friend, Eve finally decides to make the move to New York City herself. She finds an apartment in Greenwich Village for a cheap price because the owners can't get anyone to stay in the place for very long. Though it takes her a while, Eve finds a steady job writing for a morning news show. And, oh yeah, her most frequent companion is the ghost of a beat writer who haunts her apartment and wants to dictate his unfinished stories to Eve.

Eve is determined to find all her mother's old haunts and experience the same Village magic she did in the sixties. Eve is surprised when she discovers that many of the bars her mother frequented are now out of business. (Told you she's naive). When she finally finds one that is still open, she acts incredibly lame:

"She ordered a sidecar, tossed her hair and straightened her back. The group on her left was talking about the stock market; the one on the right, the Mets. Neither was her favorite topic, but she did her best to catch the eyes of those on the edges. Their eyes proved uncatchable. She cleared her throat. Nothing. She joined in when the stock marketers laughed loudly, but no one noticed. Finally, she 'accidentally' bumped the elbow of the young man next to her" (pg. 95).

Oh my gosh, this woman is supposed to be in her thirties? She seems more like a high school nerd trying to catch the attention of the girls at the popular table.

Another ridiculous detail (which the author obviously builds up to use in a gimmicky plot twist later) is Eve's absolute revulsion at cleaning up her dog's poop:

"Before long, the moment that Eve had been dreading came: the dog's sudden pull out to the curb and ominous squat. Sure enough, contractions began, and suddenly, there it was in all its reeking banality. Eve had thought raw fish was bad. But there was absolutely no doubt about what she had to do: dog owners who didn't clean up after their charges were considered the lowest of the low around here.
"'You've done your job. Now I must do mine,' Eve said to the dog as she fished out one of the crinkled plastic bags Mrs. Swan had provided. She squatted down next to the blight, holding her breath. She looked up at the sky and began to tap the ground with a bag-enclosed hand, hoping to find her target without having to actually look at it.... After several attempts, Eve's fingers went from the unforgiving hardness of concrete to the sickening yield she sought. With a clawing motion, she picked up the mound and, still holding her breath, sprinted like an Olympian to the nearest trashcan" (pg. 45).

Come on, really? Dreading? Ominous? Sickening yield? A thirty-something year old woman who can't even look at dog poop?

It seems as if Graham had the story all written out, imagined her character, etc. and then realized that oops, to have a mother who was young during the sixties, this character would have to be much older. So a little adjusting of Eve's birth date, make her a smidgen younger when her mother passed away, figure out a sheltered back story, and voila! Or not, because the result is a ridiculous adult woman who acts and thinks like a teenager. If Eve were a teenager in this book, or even in her early twenties, the story would be much more believable (though still pretty silly). Why not set the story in 1995 instead of the present? Then Eve would be about twenty and most of the rest of the details would still shake out. Or have it be her grandmother whose New York legacy Eve is trying to fulfill.

The Ghost of Greenwich Village is not a book I would recommend. If you want a meaningful (and better written) novel about a thirty-something Mid-Westerner trying to make it in New York City, read Lightning People by Christopher Bollen instead. ( )
  ReadHanded | Feb 16, 2012 |
Urk. I was really hoping for an interesting ghost story with this one - a haunting with a bit of chick lit thrown in for a twist. Rather it was chick lit with a ghost tacked on. Couldn't get through it. ( )
  kraaivrouw | Nov 5, 2011 |
A far fetched story that just didn't capture me. I read almost half the book waiting and waiting for something to interest me enough to finish. I never finished. ( )
  Quiltinfun06 | Oct 3, 2011 |
Eve Weldon moves to Greenwich Village searching for a connection to her dead mother who was an artist there in the 1960's. Jobless and alone she is adrift in the big city until she rents an old apartment. She soon discovers that the ghost of a little known, beat generation author haunts her apartment. With his cranky advice and sometimes unhelpful guidance she soon finds herself with a writing job for a local tv show, a friendship with a famous, avant garde fashion designer, and a budding social life. But the ghost has secrets and as Eve spends more and more time with him she begins to have suspisions that he is somehow connected to her mother.

The Ghost of Greenwich Village is an immature effort from a possibly promising author. The main storyline, Eve's relationship with the ghost, Donald, and her unraveling of his secrets, is cluttered with unnecesary details and mysterious subplots that aren't interesting. Why have Donald present himself to Eve in such an unusual, confusing way? It doesn't accomplish anything for the plot and just takes time and patience to wade through the explanation of how exactly he appears in her head. Its also baffling as to why Eve stays in the apartment, paying more rent than she can afford, for the sake of a ghost she most often dislikes and who is very inconvenient for her. On the other hand, many of the side stories about Eve's life outside the apartment were fun and imaginatively written. The morning talk show world and the dynamic between the stars and the writers was different and intriguing. The fashion designer also added a nice twist and glimpse into that glamorous world. The story has enough interesting parts to merit picking up Lorna Graham's next effort, but I won't be recommending this book to anyone.

I listened to The Ghost of Greenwich Village on audio, narrated by Nicole Vilencia.She does well with the youthful, fanciful tones of Eve, but didn't quite manage the switch to a more serious, grumpy Donald. ( )
  frisbeesage | Sep 1, 2011 |
Eve Weldon moved to Manhattan years after her mother's death. Eve used to sit by her bedside when she was ill, her mother would tell her about her life in Greenwich Village and they would read all her mother's favorite New York authors. But it isn't until a college reunion that Eve gets the courage to change her life and move.
Eve is able to find a great, affordable apartment in the heart of the Village, affordable only because the landlord has problems keeping a tenant in that apartment. Eve soon finds out why. Donald. A very annoying ghost that used to live there when he was alive. Donald was an aspiring writer during the '60's but never came into his own. He wants to rectify that through Eve, dictating stories to her that he thinks are brilliant. Eve, however, does not and she doesn't have time for Donald. Eve needs to find a job. She has one friend in the city who gets her an interview as a writer on a morning news/talk show. Eve has a rough start of it but then begins to love her job. She has a knack for getting people to talk to her. But she isn't getting the Manhattan experience she was looking for. She wants a close, tight knit group of friends, an exciting romance- the life her mother lived.

I found this novel to be entertaining and enjoyable. It is mostly a light read but it has some poignant moments as Eve discovers who she is and who she wants to be. I enjoyed the reminiscing of the earlier years in the Village and the time when the Beat art community was revered, a community that Donald was once part of, a time in history that fascinates Eve and makes her feel closer to her mother.

I definitely recommend this, it is quick and fun and I think it has great appeal.
my rating 4/5 ( )
  bookmagic | Jun 14, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034552621X, Paperback)

In this charming fiction debut, a young woman moves to Manhattan in search of romance and excitement—only to find that her apartment is haunted by the ghost of a cantankerous Beat Generation writer in need of a rather huge favor.

For Eve Weldon, moving to Greenwich Village is a dream come true. She’s following in the bohemian footsteps of her mother, who lived there during the early sixties among a lively community of Beat artists and writers. But when Eve arrives, the only scribe she meets is a grumpy ghost named Donald, and the only writing she manages to do is for chirpy segments on a morning news program, Smell the Coffee. The hypercompetitive network environment is a far cry from the genial camaraderie of her mother’s literary scene, and Eve begins to wonder if the world she sought has faded from existence. But as she struggles to balance her new job, demands from Donald to help him complete his life’s work, a budding friendship with a legendary fashion designer, and a search for clues to her mother’s past, Eve begins to realize that community comes in many forms—and that the true magic of the Village is very much alive, though it may reveal itself in surprising ways.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:54 -0400)

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A young woman moves to Manhattan seeking romance and excitement, only to find that her apartment is haunted by the ghost of a cantankerous Beat Generation writer in need of a rather huge favor.

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