Saturday, March 31, 2007

Garbo Laughs

I was so charmed by the first book that I read written by Elizabeth Hay ... A Student of Weather ... that I looked for another. She writes a lot about weather, as who wouldn't, living in Ottawa.

Garbo Laughs is the story of a family whose members are best able to express their love and disappointment through the films of the past.

In Ottawa, Harriet Browning is the center of a small group who call themselves The Friday Night Movie Club: her son, Kenny, obsessed with Sinatra, watches classic movies to forget his troubles at school; her daughter, Jane, on the brink of adolescence, longs for the glamorous life; her neighbor and friend Dinah, a sometime journalist, named for Dinah Shore. Lew, Harriet's realist husband, is left out of this loop, and escapes by way of business trips to South America. The arrival of Harriet's aunt Leah, the trouble-making widow of a Hollywood screenwriter, and her stepson Jack, a lazy, fast-talking writer, leads to shifts in affections and allegiances. Illness brings an end to the movie-watching, in true Hollywood weepy fashion

Harriet's son Kenny keeps a "gangster's outfit" available for watching movies and visiting his mother's friends. He seems to have no friends of his own. His fascination with movies easily matches that of his mother.