Dormen, Lesley

views updated

Dormen, Lesley


Born in Shaker Heights, OH; daughter of Max Hanford and Lee Zentner; married second husband, Quentin Byrne Spector (an executive director), June 24, 1995. Education: Graduate of Miami University.


Home—New York, NY.


Writers Studio, New York, NY, instructor.


Fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo.


(With Mark Zussman) The Secret Life of Girls, illustrated by Deborah Solomon, New American Library (New York, NY), 1984.

(With Mark Zussman) The Grown-Up Girl's Guide to Boys, illustrated by Joel Glassman, Berkley Books (New York, NY), 1986.

(With Robin Todd) How to Survive Your Boyfriend's Divorce: Loving Your Separated Man without Losing Your Mind, M. Evans (New York, NY), 1999.

The Best Place to Be: A Novel in Stories, (stories) Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2007.

Contributor to periodicals, including Redbook, Atlantic Monthly, Glimmer Train, Open City, Five Points, and Ploughshares.


Lesley Dormen has contributed to many well-known national magazines and is the author of several humorous self-help books. Her first book of fiction is The Best Place to Be: A Novel in Stories, a collection of linked tales featuring protagonist Grace Hanford, a fifty-year-old married, childless, and recently orphaned woman who recalls her life in these eight stories. Grace, like her creator, is from Ohio and lives in New York. The stories explore her relationships, not all good, with family members, her crush on Robert F. Kennedy during the 1960s, and the men in her life who ranged from boring to romantic to threatening. She contemplates the place she has reached, one that is not demanding and lends itself to reflection.

New York Times Book Review contributor Alex Kuczynski wrote: "Dormen's stories are often delightfully, crushingly funny, even if I found myself occasionally wondering if I was rereading sections of Nora Ephron's Heartburn. (In Dormen's book, as in Ephron's, there's much discussion of cooking, home renovation and affairs with diplomats.)"

Reviewing the book for the Montreal Mirror, Juliet Waters wrote that "Dormen is just fun to read. Even before my favourite quote, she had me hooked when she blithely eviscerated the Cinderella myth, like a master chef paring a chicken." "This engaging work will strike a chord with anyone who is ‘50 and holding,’" commented Library Journal reviewer Joanna M. Burkhardt.



Library Journal, January 1, 2007, Joanna M. Burkhardt, review of The Best Place to Be: A Novel in Stories, p. 90.

Montreal Mirror, April 5, 2007, Juliet Waters, review of The Best Place To Be.

New York Times Book Review, June 3, 2007, Alex Kuczynski, review of The Best Place To Be.

O, the Oprah Magazine, February 1, 2003, "What I Learned from Dating 100 Men: She Was 34 and She Meant Business, So She Placed an Ad with an Online Dating Service and Let the E-mails Roll In. Ann Marsh on Panning for the Date That Was Worth Waiting For," p. 146.

Publishers Weekly, February 13, 2006, "Six-Figure Fiction," p. 10; December 11, 2006, review of The Best Place to Be, p. 42; January 29, 2007, Amy Boaz, "Finding Grace: PW Talks with Lesley Dorman," interview.

ONLINE, (May 11, 2007), James O'Neil, review of The Best Place to Be.

Writers Write, (August 15, 2007), Claire E. White, review of How to Survive Your Boyfriend's Divorce: Loving Your Separated Man without Losing Your Mind.