Coming Out

by Danielle Steel

Reviewed by Coral

Olympia Crawford Rubinstein is happily divorced from her first husband, Chauncey - with whom she shares three children, Charlie and twins Veronica and Virginia - and even more happily married to her second husband, Harry - with whom she shares one son, Max. Knowing that her second marriage was meant to last, and as a sign of how much she loved Harry, Olympia converted to Judaism for him. This didn't go over too well with Chauncey, who still views the world as encompassed solely in his country club. Straining their fragile truce even further is the rebellious attitude of their daughter Veronica.

The one thing Olympia and Chauncey still have in common is their desire to see their daughters "come out" at New York's most exclusive debutante cotillion. Veronica has other ideas, and Harry agrees with her; both of them deciding that the whole idea is intrinsically discriminatory and bigoted. Suddenly what seemed like a harmless little party has sent Olympia's perfect family into chaos and, unless she can come up with a miracle, she may not be able to sort it all out in time!

But, and I hope I'm not spoiling anyone, she somehow manages. Because this is a romance novel - though I don't see how this one qualifies because no one is falling in or out of love, it's more of a family drama - and romance novels never have unhappy endings.

This book felt a lot like Toxic Bachelors, with the overly descriptive and repetitive exposition. Plus it didn't feel organic, like it wasn't naturally a part of the story.

Almost nothing happened in this story! Everything kept building up and building up, everything centered on the ball and how Veronica and Harry were against it, and how Chauncey was threatening to withdraw financial support if the girls didn't attend, and how Olympia didn't care what anyone thought about her inviting her Jewish mother-in-law and African-American best friend to the WASPY-ist event on the "social calendar". And nothing happened! The ball was such a boring climax to the entire book. Plus, it felt so rushed. Everything was resolved at sonic speed in the last 20 pages and it was all so unsatisfying. I wish the book was longer, just so there could have been more space to end things properly.

The two - I wouldn't call them shocking - twists that happen at the ball? Not very twisty. I called them both; very predictable.

The one thing I really didn't like about this book was everyone's reaction to Veronica's getting a tattoo. It's not the end of the world! I swear if I read one more book - or see one more TV show - where someone describes getting a tattoo as a desecration of your body, or the biggest mistake of your life, or something you'll regret in a couple of years, I may have to scream. I have a tattoo, right above my right ankle, and I definitely don't consider it a desecration, or a mistake. And I don't regret getting it. I consider it a part of me, an image on my body that represents a piece of me that's important. Neither of my parents freaked, the world didn't come to an end. It's not a big deal.

I was going to rate this book a harmless C, but the tattoo thing made me angry.


Grade: D