An Unusual Story Told By An Imperfect Young Woman.
An Unusual Story Told By An Imperfect Young Woman. After Divorcing Natasha, Lenny Marries Youthful Anita.
This is book one of the five part Still Life with Memories series.
Anita, raised by a single mother in a Santa Monica rent-controlled apartment, learned about men at a very young age. She learned that her looks give her attention and power over men. But that attention has also brought problems, like the attention she gets from her mother’s boyfriends. Her mother resents her for that.
Lenny Kaminsky is in his forties when a sixteen year old Anita throws herself at him at the ice cream parlor in which she works, though his age is insignificant to her. Little does she fully comprehend what he means when he tells her she reminds him of someone he once knew. She loses her job as a result of her stunt, which guilts him into accompanying her home. When she makes a bold pass at him, Lenny is so lost to his memories that he doesn’t stop her. But Anita’s mother walks into the apartment only to throw her out for her behavior. Lenny, of course, feels responsible for his part in her predicament.
That day began a ten year period of ups and downs for Lenny and Anita. Whenever Lenny’s ex-wife, Natasha, returned to him, Lenny welcomed her back. Natasha had always been Anita’s competition. And after seeing the pictures of Natasha, there was no doubt about what Lenny saw in Anita. He saw Natasha. Anita could pass as a younger doppelganger.
But as the present story opens, Anita, twenty-six, has just become Lenny’s wife. She is about half his age and is pregnant. He married her despite the fact that everyone he knew advised him otherwise. She hardly compares to the beautiful and talented Natasha. Natasha had been a talented pianist, was cultured, and didn’t suffer from poor grammar, unlike Anita. Lenny looks at Anita, but she thinks he still sees his Natasha. Nevertheless, Anita is now married to Lenny and a member of his family, which includes his twenty-seven year old son Ben, who has just returned home and met her. Navigating her new situation, living in the home that Lenny and Natasha shared so many years, and living with two men is a challenge. Worse, Lenny still harbors secrets even after all these years.
This is an unusual story told by an imperfect young woman. Anita is far from innocent in her story. Her age cannot excuse everything, though her childhood sheds light on her actions. Lenny has his secrets and he lived a lifetime before Anita entered his life. Her eyes are open to this all along. She knew she would always come in second to Natasha, but she chose to stay, so it is difficult to have too much sympathy for her. As the story ends, there are gaps in time that remain explained and hints of what might come next. Stories remain untold and secrets remain hidden.
Newlywed Anita finds herself a stranger in her new home with her husband Lenny and his adult son Ben; between the tension in the home and Lenny’s devotion to his writing, married life is anything but simple. The story is well-written. The plot is complex but obscure and very slow to roll out. The characters are carefully crafted. The story is written in first person from Anita’s POV. I rate this book four stars.
As for the Audio: it is consistent with the book and is well-performed.