Jeannie Sterling absolutely loves her job: sheís a late-night radio personality in New York City. Along with her co-host and best friend, Luce, Jeannie discusses her frustration with peopleís rudeness in general on her show ďSterling Behavior.Ē Nothing escapes Jeannieís notice, from littering to cutting in line to the time a man (in a Hummer, no less) splashes her while she is on the side of the road trying to hail a cab. Even worse, heís on a cell phone, which is very illegal in New York City. When Jeannie calls him a ďturkey,Ē he gets out of the car and engages her.
The man turns out to be Nicholas Moss, an extremely wealthy man who finds Jeannie both intriguing and infuriating. But Jeannie isnít interested in the handsome Nicholas because she has been in love with her best friend for as long as she can remember. Itís finally starting to look he reciprocates her feelings when Jeannieís career really begins to blossom. As she rises, her relationship with Luce starts to suffer, and she begins to cross lines that she never would have imagined in order to boost her ratings.
Leslie Schnurís simple, easy-to-read writing style makes the pages of Late Night Talking fly by without the reader realizing it; itís easy to settle down into this novel. Itís also a fun read.
Jeannie is a rather difficult character and not really easy to like. Her passion for people taking care of one another and not being rude is admirable. She feels it strongly and deeply; itís an integral part of her. But the way she goes about expressing this passion is sketchy at best. At the beginning, when itís just her show, itís merely discussing (well, ranting) about people and their rudeness. While focusing on anger might not be the healthiest pastime, Jeannie isnít hurting anyone. However, when she begins taking it further and further as the novel progresses, she becomes more and more despicable. Her biggest pet peeve is people being rude, yet she is worse than anyone around her.
To be fair, many people in Jeannieís life try to tell her that sheís going too far, which is what makes the novel good. Itís hard to like a book where youíre skeptical about the main character, but Late Night Talking is the rare exception. Itís clear that Schnur is trying to send the reader a message through Jeannieís behavior, and she successfully accomplishes that feat.
The subplots in Late Night Talking are interesting but not fully explored or fleshed out, but that seems to have been a purposeful decision by Schnur. One of Jeannieís defining characteristics is that sheís self-centered. Since the book is from Jeannieís point of view, she only notices things about herself, not so much whatís going on around her.
Late Night Talking is a great light read for a plane ride or the beach vacation at the end of the flight. Iíll definitely keep an eye out for anything Leslie Schnur writes in the future.