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Dumping Billy    by Olivia Goldsmith order for
Dumping Billy
by Olivia Goldsmith
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

The late author, Olivia Goldsmith, was well known for her bestselling First Wives Club. Her last novel, Dumping Billy, is a modern-day story about relationships between men and women in their late twenties and early thirties. Billy Nolan is a Brooklyn bar owner who can compete with the likes of Brad Pitt or George Clooney in the 'looks department.' Billy's appearance and charm make him irresistible to most women, and there aren't many women in Brooklyn who have not dated him.

However, Billy has a bizarre track record. Though he only dates one woman at a time, he eventually breaks up with each of them and, after the breakup, the woman always ends up marrying the next man who enters her life. Billy is unaware of the effect that he has he simply breaks things off, moves on, and the woman is engaged to the next guy shortly thereafter. Hence, Billy has earned the nickname 'Dumping Billy'. Enter Kate Jameson. Kate grew up in Brooklyn but relocated to Manhattan in her adult years, prefering its sophistication to the brash grittiness of her childhood neighborhood. Kate is a school psychologist who counsels elementary school students at a small, elite private school. Her gay male friend, Elliot, is a mathematics teacher who lives nearby. Kate suffered a harsh breakup with her prior love, Stephen, but has since settled into a semi-serious relationship with Michael, an academic scholar. Though he's rather stuffy, he provides the emotional stability that Stephen lacked. Kate feels secure with (though not very excited by) Michael.

Kate's childhood friend Bina still resides in Brooklyn, having never made the leap to college and more sophisticated pastures. However, Kate and Bina have stayed close over the years. Bina wants to get married, have children and be a housewife. But her world is shattered when her long-term boyfriend, Jack, gets cold feet. The engagement ring and wedding proposal that Bina spent several years waiting for doesn't materialize. Instead, Jack jets off to Hong Kong to 'find himself.' All Bina wants is to work out things with him, but there is not much that she can do while he is in Hong Kong. Or is there? Bina's Brooklyn friends and Elliot concoct a scheme to help her. All Bina needs to do is date Billy. Billy will eventually dump her, after which the long-awaited marriage proposal from Jack is sure to transpire upon his scheduled return to Brooklyn. Though Kate thinks this is a ridiculous scheme, she goes along with the plan. One thing that Kate has not counted on is that she feels strangely drawn to Billy. Despite the fact that she is in a relationship and that she is no longer a Brooklyn girl, Billy means more to her than Kate wants to admit.

Dumping Billy is peppered with humor, wit and sassy attitude that is sure to bring a smile to the reader's face. However, the overall flow of the book is choppy. Goldsmith spends a great deal of time on certain subplots but glosses over other parts of the story that could have used attention. Though Kate grew more annoying through the book and did not win my support, I found Elliot, Bina and Kate's childhood friends from Brooklyn entertaining and the highlight of the novel. And while I suspect that Olivia Goldsmith will be remembered more for her earlier works, fans will certainly want to read Dumping Billy.

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