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Today, I’m reviewing Loose Diamonds by Amy Ephron, published by William Morrow/Harper Collins in 2011. I’ll also be sharing that review on Library Thing, where I participate in their Early Reviewers program.

But first I have to digress into what I found to be a quirky coincidence. When I shared it with my husband, he called me a DORK. But, here we go…. I collected the following three books right around the same time, one at a library, one in the mail from Harper Collins, and one as a birthday present from my sister.

I just read The Red Leather Diary where present-day Florence Wolfson, discussing her brief career writing articles for women’s magazines in the 1940s, says, “The obvious culmination would have been for me to become a Nora Ephron.”

Nora Ephron is the accomplished eldest sister of a family of literary ladies, including sisters Hallie, Delia, and Amy whose latest book I’ve just finished. In that book, in “Post-Modern Life”, she reflects on a blended family vacation on Martha’s Vineyardnoting, “My apologies to Alexandra Styron for any damage we may have inadvertently done to her beautiful house because there were too many of us in it. In fact, now that I think about it, except for the time I ran into her on a street corner, she’s never spoken to me again.”

What’s sitting on my nightstand waiting for my attention?  Reading My Father by Alexandra Styron. I know, shock and awe, right? Your silence is overwhelming. No worries, I got enough pleasure out of it for all of us….

On to the business at hand – I loved Loose Diamonds. It was too short. Or was it? For me, the essays, most only a few pages long, sparkle like loose diamonds. The topics are varied, but, instead of the virtual dump of material that so many collections seem to suffer from, every chapter in Loose Diamonds is a gem.  There’s a maturity in each piece that allows this volume to be many things; charming, touching, humorous, ironic, and the list goes on. Found a great online interview also that gives some backstory.  At about 160 pages in eighteen chapters, Loose Diamonds is a great weekend read. 

The only bit that puzzled me was a blurb in the front jacket cover that says, in part, “And through it all is Ephron’s mother, whose perspectives on everything-from shoes to egg cups-pervade this book, and whose alcoholism was a constant challenge, forcing Ephron out on her own at an early age.” While those may be the “facts” of Ephron’s relationship with her mother, I would disagree that these issues “pervade” Loose Diamonds, much to Ephron’s credit. This is not at ALL a “woe-is-me, I survived alcoholic parents” offering, and I hate to think that Harper Collins is grabbing for that over-saturated market with the jacket statement.