Sunday, February 11, 2018

Book Review: 'Grand Central Station' by Marsha Casper Cook

Chicago author Marsha Casper Cook is also a screenwriter and radio show personality on Blog Talk Radio discussing writing, publishing and advocating October Breast Cancer Awareness. Her novels include fiction, non-fiction and children’s stories.

Marsha knows how to build credible characters and prepare her reader with a grounded platform that seems so real that the comedy she is about to launch gives us the comfort to laugh at our own similarities and foibles. We first meet an author Jack Winston – ‘It was one of the first serious snowfalls of the season, definitely not a night for a book signing. Doctor Jack Winston had been warned by others not to expect a crowd, but he still hoped for one. Born and raised in Chicago, he should have known better. After peeking inside the Maxwell Meyers bookstore and realizing the truth, Jack decided to walk around the block. He had felt very lucky to be able to talk about his book at one of Chicago’s finest bookstores. If an author had a successful signing at Maxwell Meyers, the book had a great chance of making it to the bestseller list.’

Allow two years to pass before we meet character 2 – Victoria Feingold – ‘Breakfast was not a pretty picture at the Feingold house. There was always so much going on that it could be very difficult to concentrate. Victoria Feingold sometimes referred to her household as “Grand Central Station,” because people were coming and going at all hours of the day. Despite the chaos, Victoria Feingold had a method to all the ongoing madness. She tried her best to ignore the noise, which was pretty easy for her because she was a pediatrician, and her office was loaded with crying kids all day long. Along with the crying came tantrums and vomiting. Her patients were scared, but she was a necessary evil for them; healthy children were her specialty. So when everyone in her house was a little off the wall, she just did what she had to do, ignoring all the commotion. That meant calling her service to see who needed her. If all was clear, she could sit down and have breakfast with her kids. If not, she was out the door, leaving her mother to handle everything. Being both a doctor and a single mother of three was quite difficult. She always hated the word “breadwinner,” but that’s what she was. She brought home the bacon — not exactly a Jewish expression. Not only did she have Allyson, Andrew, and Noah to raise, but she had an ex-husband who simply hadn’t grown up enough to handle responsibility. Her mother and her sister also lived with her. And, of course, what house was complete without a dog? Angus was not just any dog. He was a schnauzer with opinions, some of which he shared with humans.’

Now conjoin the two and Marsha sets the synopsis well: ‘Some events happen for a reason. Some unions of two people are totally unexpected. This is a story of love, romance, understanding, trust and most of all family loyalties. Can a successful bachelor survive marrying not only the woman he loves but her entire household - including his new mother in law, sister in law, his wife's three children, her dog who happens to talk, and of course none other than her ex-husband?’ Ready, set, laugh – on nearly every page. A delight! Grady Harp, April 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.