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Papa's Cord by Mary Pleshette Willis
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Papa's Cord

by Mary Pleshette Willis

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The story of a young New York Jewish daughter of a weak mother and a bullying, emotionally abusive gynecologist father, who marries her fiancee despite his near-crippling accident, and struggles from then on to balance the needs of her husband, her parents, and her own desire to live a fulfilled life. The back-and-forth battle between herself and her father, conflicted with love and anger, could have been a compeling one. But it is a tale poorly told, reminiscent of a Lifetime TV movie, cliched and filled with irrelevant and unintriguing happenings. At best the book makes a guilty fast summer read. ( )
  burnit99 | Feb 26, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679446966, Hardcover)

What would you do if, just a week before your wedding, your husband broke his neck and was declared a likely candidate for quadriplegia? When young Josie is faced with just such an eventuality, she sees no choice but to stick by the man she loves. In Mary Pleshette Willis's first novel, Papa's Cord, Josie and Gus's ensuing journey takes them through the trials of post-op sex, the thrill of Gus's recovery, and finally to the ultimate '90s healing process: selling their story to Hollywood.

Willis's Hollywood satire, while broad, has the ring of experience: "'They're offering you fifty grand for the film and television rights,' their newly signed agent, Marvin Feingold, said, calling them from the Coast. 'And another fifty if you write it.' 'But we've never written a screenplay before.' 'For fifty thousand, you can learn,' said Marvin." Their subsequent meetings with producers also run to type: "Langston leaned forward, lacing his phallic fingers together. 'What I'm trying to say is breaking your neck in the surf isn't very filmic.'"

If Hollywood provides the stuff of '90s farce, fertility problems provide the stuff of '90s drama. When Josie and Gus aren't flying around becoming famous, they're trying to become pregnant, with lots of bitter tears shed along the way. Meanwhile, Willis sets out to interweave Josie and Gus's adventures with the more stringent tale of Josie's relationship with her father, ending up doing justice to neither storyline. In fact, this feels like one of those books where the author dumps in as much life experience as possible and hopes she emerges with a novel. Still, Willis's tone is adamantly light: fans of the romantic comedy of Elinor Lipman may find diversion in these pages. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:30 -0400)

When her fianc‚e breaks his back in a swimming accident, Josie Davidovich is advised by her father, a doctor, to end the engagement because there is no point in becoming tied to a cripple. But Josie goes through with the wedding, they write a book on the tragedy, which becomes the basis of a movie, and they end up rich and famous.… (more)

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