Claudia Silver to the Rescue: A Novel

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  2013


Claudia Silver to the rescue? I don't think so.

December 1996, New York City. An assistant at Georgica Films, Claudia is a twenty-four-year-old Barnard graduate whose daily responsibilities include placing lunch orders for Georgica's motley crew of characters. When Claudia begins a romantic relationship with the doorman at work, her indiscretion (and evidence of theft) soon come to light, and Claudia is swiftly fired. Throughout the book, Claudia's choices get even worse.

The idea that Claudia is capable of rescuing anything seems unlikely. And her family is no help whatsoever. Claudia's mother refused to let Claudia return to her rundown Park Slope brownstone after Claudia graduated from Barnard and Claudia has been struggling to live on her own ever since. Her mother's stance is that after the generations of hardships endured by her Jewish ancestors, Claudia is entitled to no shortcuts or sympathy. In fact, Claudia's mother seems hell-bent on the idea that Claudia must suffer through life to do her lineage justice.

The only source of support in Claudia's life is her best friend, Upper East Sider Bronwyn Tate. The reader can't help but wonder how someone as successful as Bronwyn will be able to stand by Claudia by the time Claudia's calamitous rampage is over. Soon Claudia's teenage sister, Phoebe, only complicates matters when she runs away from her mother's home and joins Claudia and Bronwyn in their apartment. It's no surprise that Claudia is hardly a good mentor or provider for Phoebe.

Still, the ultimate message of Claudia Silver to the Rescue is one of redemption through the most difficult and painful of circumstances. The novel also serves as a reminder that sometimes those we least suspect end up being the truest heroes in our lives.

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