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All Is Vanity : A Novel by Christina Schwarz

All Is Vanity : A Novel (edition 2002)

by Christina Schwarz

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298937,648 (3.16)9
Title:All Is Vanity : A Novel
Authors:Christina Schwarz
Info:Random House, Inc. (2002), Hardcover, 572 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Pima County Public Library, pcpl, Joel D Valdez Main Library Staff Picks, friends, mothers, novelists, vanity

Work details

All Is Vanity by Christina Schwarz

  1. 00
    The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: In both novels, private emails are made the basis of a published book.
  2. 00
    The Game by A. S. Byatt (KayCliff)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I agree with most of the comments that it was slow in the beginning. However...because I finished it and really enjoyed the second half's drama...I am happy I stuck with it. ( )
  twryan72 | Sep 7, 2008 |
Margaret quits her teaching job to write a novel. Her best friend Letty is a stay-at-home mom with 4 kids. The first 100 pages is, basically, the story of Margaret figuring out how to write the novel. Parts were funny, and the writing was good, but the pace was just too slow for me. According to the book description, things do pick up with, I believe, Margaret stealing Letty's life, as told to her through e-mails, and uses it for her book. I just couldn't hang on that long. Maybe other writers would enjoy this book. ( )
  CatieN | Aug 28, 2008 |
This book cracked me up. It's the story of a friendship between two women and how friendships can be taken advantage of. Margaret is a New York City woman (displaced from California) who gave up her teaching career to write a novel. She has subtle hubris (described as "cynical roilings" p138) that she tries to disguise to Letty and anyone else who listens to her (mainly her husband, Ted). Letty is Margaret's childhood friend who became (Poor Letty!) a stay-at-home mom with four kids and a great kitchen in Los Angeles, California. They keep in touch via email and almost immediately I noticed that between the two friends, despite Margaret being the one trying to write a book, Letty is the better writer. I love Letty's writing, but I think that's the point. It's only a matter of time before Margaret starts using Letty as the subject of her first book. When Letty's life starts to spiral out of control Margaret does nothing to help thinking it helps her own fictional plot. ( )
1 vote SeriousGrace | Aug 2, 2008 |
This was awful. I could not finish it. I loved Drowning Ruth so I thought I'd love this. Boring! I read 100 pages but it wasn't going anywhere. I skipped to the end and decided not to bother finishing! This is the first book in a long time I could not finish.
1 vote rockyroad | Aug 26, 2007 |
Read 7/10/07
Way too much like me!!!
  plazek | Jul 10, 2007 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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And in memory of Julia Sackin,
who taught me how to write a decent letter
when we were very young and whose
friendship I will always treasure
First words
I was a promising chld.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385499728, Hardcover)

Lifelong best friends Margaret and Letty are in their mid-30s. Margaret has just quit her teaching job to write a novel in Manhattan; Letty, her husband, and her four children are enjoying their first taste of worldly success in Los Angeles. Margaret soon discovers that writing is not as easy as it looks, and Letty finds herself financially over her head in the one-upmanship of L.A. living. Reading Letty's hilarious e-mails, Margaret realizes that a great story is unfolding right in front of her, and she begins a new novel based on her friend's travails. Hungry for more drama in her novel, she pushes Letty deeper and deeper into debt. Christina Schwartz's diabolical All Is Vanity sends up so many different things, you need a list to keep track of them all. Taking a drubbing are: the pretensions of would-be writers ("How many people believe they have a novel fully formed in the backs of their brains ... and are convinced if only they could manage to tear themselves away from much more important work, they would just 'write it up'?"); the consumerist frenzy of L.A. (Letty's realtor tells her that her yard "could be 'emotional' with the right landscaping'"); and, of course, the uses and abuses of female friendship. Schwartz, author of the bestseller Drowning Ruth, draws us in with farce, then changes course and gives us a bittersweet indictment of personal ambition. In the process, she shows herself as a writer both compassionate and hilariously cruel--no mean trick. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:03 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Margaret and Letty have been best friends for as long as they can remember. And as they reach their mid-thirties, each has begun to chafe at the sense that she is not where she ought to be in life.

(summary from another edition)

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