Vanessa V. Friedman
October 25, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Book of Candy

Current Status
In Season
Susan Dworkin

We gave it a B+

In Susan Dworkin’s The Book of Candy, Candy Shapiro is not an unfamiliar type: Long Island housewife, constantly dieting, slightly too made up, fond of Broadway shows. Her husband, Marty, is an equally recognizable figure. Everyone else in the book — a comic, a black torch singer, a perfectly put-together political wife — is also a known quantity, a stock character. The kind of characters, in fact, that could make up a modern parable, as this novel — a sweet retelling of the Book of Esther — does. From Atlantic City to Colorado, from Israel to the Caribbean, Dworkin follows Candy and her coterie with sympathy and humor. When Candy, like Esther, makes the ultimate sacrifice for her family and friends, and the real strength beneath the over-sprayed hair is revealed, it may not be the stuff of religious conversion, but you will never look at another suburban stereotype in the same way again. B+

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