Friday, February 23, 2007

A Taxonomy of Barnacles

So, every now and again I get a hankering to read an adult book. I was at a bit of a loss as my Bookmarks subscription expired and I try to avoid the papers (bad news and all!). But this lovely cover caught my eye, and as you well know, I am a sucker for the NYC story!

The Barnacle sisters are summoned to their father's apartment for the Passover seder and for a big announcement. Benita, Beryl, Belinda, Beth, Bridgit and Bell (ages ranging from 10-29) are in attendance when dad, Barry, announces that whichever girl can find a way to immortalize the Barnacle name will inherit his fortune. (Barry is the pantyhose king from Brooklyn)

What ensues is a hilarious and depressing look into family life. The Barnacles are a very eccentric family. While they are rich enough to have an enormous apartment, the girls are forced to double up because the "extra" three room house Barry's collections. There is a hole in the ceiling and a spiral staircase that connect the apartment to that of his first wife, Bella. This is not the typical pristine apartment on the Upper East Side.

Each of the girl is a character unto herself and interprets this question very differently. Youngest Benita is a competition fiend, and hopes that notice in the papers will catch her father's eye. Rebellious Belinda finds herself a dirty punk boy to "marry". Oldest sisters Bell and Brigit vie for the attentions of the Finch twins from upstairs, while super smart Beth decides that academic recognition is the way to go.

The reader can picture each scene perfectly. Perhaps this is due to author Galt Niederhoffer's background in film. It read a bit like the Tannenbaums to me. It is zany and dark all at the same time.

I truly enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it to adults and older teens who like the "slice of life" story.

No comments: