Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romantic Comedy/Humor
“Stand-up comic Frankie Goldberg’s Hollywood life falls apart with an exclamation point when a mudslide destroys her hopes, her home, and her entire collection of impractical footwear. She returns to her mother’s B&B in Woodstock, New York, expecting the comfort that home once provided, but continually finds that the joke’s on her. In Frankie’s absence, some things have changed—and some, to her dismay, are exactly as she’d left them. A lighthearted-but-serious romantic comedy about love, trust, second chances, squabbling sisters, and baseball.”
“Laurie Boris has been writing fiction for almost thirty years and is the award-winning author of eight novels. When not playing with the universe of imaginary people in her head, she’s a freelance copyeditor and enjoys baseball, reading, and avoiding housework. She lives in New York's lovely Hudson Valley.”
Thirty-something Frankie Goldberg’s life has hit another huge bump in the road in California. With only the clothes on her back, and a red corvette, she’s headed home to her mom’s Bed and Breakfast in Woodstock, New York to regroup and figure out what’s she’s going to do to move forward. Frankie has many talents. One is to help people prioritize and guide them to focus their energy to achieve success. The problem is she’s not sure what she wants to do now.
When she arrives home to the B&B she is shocked to see what direction her older sister, Jude, has taken to save the B&B from financial ruin. Jude Goldberg has found success in New York City’s corporate world. However, with her having to divide her time between the B&B and her real job things are getting dicey there as well. Jude is also dealing with the impending empty nest syndrome as her son is planning his future, deciding between college or jumping straight to Hollywood to pursue his future as a movie producer.
What originally brought Jude back home to the B&B is their mother had a stroke and Jude had to admit mom into a nursing home alone, without help or opinions from Frankie. This is a source of friction between the sisters. Frankie also feels a sense of abandonment from the way Jude left home years ago to a less than perfect start of her own life.
What I found captivating about The Joke’s on Me are all the relationship angles explored. Frankie is the one who had the most soul searching to do and the story is told through her point-of-view so we know what’s going through her head. The dialogue is witty, realistic, serious, and humorous at times — since that is how Frankie deflects. When Frankie learns that her preteen crush, Joey Mazzerella, is back in town after a failed big league baseball career and a divorce, Frankie is ready to jump his bones. He’s the reason she loves baseball, and he now coaches a local Double A Baseball Team, The Dukes. They happen to be in the running for the league championship this season. Luckily, Joey has had time to reassess his life and insists on taking things a whole lot slower than Frankie finds comfortable, which gives her time to prioritize what’s really important to her and it is not a one-night stand. However, is Joey enough reason to move back to Woodstock?
The Joke’s on Me is a thoroughly enjoyable read, and will stand alone from the prequel, Catering Girl. Now I want to know if there will be a third book in this series. I really want to know what is in letters Frankie and Jude found in a box their mother had saved and tucked away for safe keeping.
No significant issues.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Approximate word count: 95-100,000 words