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by Adrienne Eisen
Alt-X Press, 2001
Review by Liz Bass on Jun 30th 2002

Making Scenes

If you like Seinfeld, youll love Scenes because its a book about nothing.

Unlike Seinfeld, this book does considerably more than play at sex with double entendres and teasers. It goes at it full bore. Page after page after page. But the sexual antics of the bi-coastal urbanites who populate the book wind up to be as dull as everything else about them. Seinfeld features some appealing characters, but this is not the case in Scenes. Everyone in the book seems to be a victim of arrested development -- sexual and otherwise.

Making Scenes is a good title because at least on one level it describes the book to a tee. It is really a collection of scenes without a play to give them context. Maybe that is the authors statement about life in the new millennium.

Even though the characters leave a lot to be desired and the full story is missing, I congratulate Ms. Eisen for producing this book. Her talent is evident in the way she handles dialogue and makes even her transitionless paragraphs somehow hang together. I wouldnt go so far to say that there is a definable plot in the text, but I think there is some kind of underlying structure that I can identify as a coming-of-age story. Her main character has no name (or at least I cant recall one), yet Eisen manages to keep her clearly in focus throughout the book.

Making Scenes is not a book for everyone, but then neither is Moby Dick. Both can be boring for long stretches at a time, but it is fair to say that each in its own way also illuminates dark corners in human life. Granted, the light is rather dim in Making Scenes, but it is there nonetheless.

I hope Eisen writes another book and titles it "Baggage." That way, her admirers will be able to find out the part of the story she omits in Making Scenes.


© 2002 Liz Bass


        Liz Bass is a retired teacher and principal who lives in Northern California.


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