Catching Up With Elinor Lipman

Mister D: I just wanted to say that ever since our lunch with Ms Lipman almost 2 years ago, my mother has become a voracious reader of Ms. Lipman’s novels. Absolutely loves them…she’s read them all. I’m quite slow, but I have to say, my mom has very good taste.

Elinor Lipman: Satirical Novelist
Elinor Lipman’s Books Comment on American Society Using Satire
Feb 10, 2010 Peggy Hazelwood

The novelist Elinor Lipman is the author of nine novels, including Then She Found Me, that are witty and fun reads. Lipman also writes essays on current American life.

Elinor Lipman is the author of a collection of short stories, numerous essays, and nine novels. According to Elinor Lipman: A Suitable Web Site, Lipman was born in 1950 in Lowell, Massachusetts, was raised in a Jewish household, and had an “exceedingly functional family.”

She attended Simmons College and worked writing press releases at the public radio station, WGBH, in Boston and edited newsletters. She is married and has a grown son.

Elinor Lipman Books
Lipman’s books are entertaining while being smart and funny. The subject matter usually revolves around a woman who has a dilemma or two on her hands. The trouble can include adoption, relationships with men, or family dynamics. Lipman’s quick wit brings a fresh look to what might otherwise be a tired exercise in social commentary.

Her published works include a collection of stories and nine novels:

Into Love and Out Again, a connected collection of stories published in 1988
Then She Found Me, a novel published in 1990
The Way Men Act, a novel published in 1992
Isabel’s Bed, a novel published in 1995
The Inn at Lake Devine, a novel published in 1998
The Ladies’ Man, a novel published in 1999
The Dearly Departed, a novel published in 2001
The Pursuit of Alice Thrift, a novel published in 2003
My Latest Grievance, a novel published in 2006
The Family Man, a novel published in 2009

Elinor Lipman Books Made Into Movies
The only Elinor Lipman book that has been made into a movie thus far is Then She Found Me. Helen Hunt directed and starred in the 2007 movie. The book and the movie are considerably different in several ways but the theme and feel of the story remain in the movie.

In the movie of Then She Found Me, Helen Hunt stars as April Epner; Matthew Broderick as April’s husband/soon to be ex-husband; Colin Firth plays Frank, April’s new love interest and the father of one of her students; and Bette Midler plays April’s biological mother, who barges into April’s already disrupted life.

A partial response by Elinor Lipman in an essay to the Huffington Post about the departure the movie takes from the book follows:

I love the movie. Adore it. I’m seeing it for the fifth time next week. It’s smart, wry, and very touching. The book is the book and the movie is its own entity. This I internalized early on when a wise friend told me, “Think of it as a movie based on characters suggested by the novel THEN SHE FOUND ME.” I do.

Essays by Elinor Lipman
Lipman is as good an essay writer as she is a novelist. She has written essays for The Boston Globe, Borders, and Salon. As a tribute to the television show Sex and the City, Lipman wrote an essay that ran in the Globe the morning of the series’ finale.

In an essay for Salon titled Mayo Culpa: A Daughter Probes Her Mother’s Condiment Phobia, Lipman is at her best, explaining why she grew up never (ever) eating any condiments. Not even the tried and true ketchup or heaven-forbid mayonnaise until her older sister came home from school when Elinor was 9 requesting their tuna be made with the white creamy stuff instead of a sprinkling of vinegar.

For the Boston Book Festival blog, Lipman wrote an essay in May 2009 about how she learned to write fiction under Arthur Edelstein. She described the process of rewriting as: And who could argue with this, a sentence he once spoke after a rewrite had outlived its usefulness: “Sometimes the best form of revision is to start something new.”

Elinor Lipman’s Body of Work Worth the Read
The books by Elinor Lipman are an insightful and refreshing take on contemporary American life. Whether she tackles the subject matter of a single woman dating in The Way Men Act or The Pursuit of Alice Thrift or a pair of college teachers/dorm monitors who are raising their daughter in a college dorm in My Latest Grievance, Lipman handles the prose in the best way: deftly and it’s always entertaining.

Read more at Suite101: Elinor Lipman: Satirical Novelist: Elinor Lipman’s Books Comment on American Society Using Satire–satirical-novelist#ixzz0fE26uBfD

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