Clarissa Cruz
June 13, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

A Friend of the Family

Current Status
In Season
Lisa Jewell

We gave it a C-

A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY Lisa Jewell (Dutton, $23.95)

Three women deal with commitment-phobic beaus who happen to be brothers. HEROINE’S NEMESIS ”She could reach orgasm in thirty seconds flat and fell fast asleep… after sex, snoring like a warthog.” ”I’M GOING TO DIE ALONE!” REFERENCE ”Thirty-six years old, thought I was going to end up alone and childless…” LOWDOWN The engaging characters, particularly the boys’ madly-in-love parents, elevate this familiar tale. B+

REMIND ME AGAIN WHY I MARRIED YOU Rita Ciresi (Delacorte, $23.95)

Sharp-tongued, sexually adventurous Lisa becomes a suburban wife and mother. HEROINE’S NEMESIS ”How easy it would be for a man to collapse like a ton of bricks at her trim size-six feet.” ”I’M GOING TO DIE ALONE!” REFERENCE ”You are fat. You are ugly. You are bloated…if [he] weren’t so bound by duty, he would leave you.” LOWDOWN Ciresi’s depiction of post-singleton life is clever and surprisingly honest. A

SUSHI FOR BEGINNERS Marian Keyes (Morrow, $24.95)

Good girl is thrown for a loop when she gets a job at a flashy magazine. HEROINE’S NEMESIS ”She always looked spectacularly, astonishingly, just-this-minute fashionable.” ”I’M GOING TO DIE ALONE!” REFERENCE ”All Ashling knew was that she almost never felt whole…. [S]omething remained forever absent, right at her very core.” LOWDOWN Glossy magazine cattiness is entertaining. But not enough to save the predictable plot. C-

THE BIG BAD WOLF TELLS ALL Donna Kauffman (Bantam, $10.95)

Sex columnist rethinks her wanton ways when she meets the possible One. HEROINE’S NEMESIS She ”regarded her impending parenthood like a new religion.” ”I’M GOING TO DIE ALONE!” REFERENCE ”Her beloved independence took on a whiff of something that smelled a lot like loneliness.” LOWDOWN Likening men to predatory animals was tired even before Ashley Judd made a bad movie about it.

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