Edelman, Amy Holman 1958- (Amy Edelman)

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Edelman, Amy Holman 1958- (Amy Edelman)

PERSONAL:

Born November 1, 1958; married first husband, David, 1989 (died, 2001); married Phil Leo (a photographer), September 23, 2007; children (first marriage) Sophie, Catie. Education: College graduate. Religion: Jewish.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Montclair, NJ. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Self-employed publicist, 1994-97, clients have included Tiffany & Company, Pillsbury, Judith Leiber, Polo/Ralph Lauren, and Barnes & Noble; writer and publicist, 1997—.

WRITINGS:

The Little Black Dress, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1997.

Manless in Montclair: A Novel: How a Happily Married Woman Became a Widow Looking for Love in the Wilds of Suburbia, Shaye Areheart Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Also author of The Fashion Resource Directory, Fairchild Publications.

SIDELIGHTS:

Amy Holman Edelman has taken the real events of her own life and woven them into a fictional memoir, Manless in Montclair: A Novel: How a Happily Married Woman Became a Widow Looking for Love in the Wilds of Suburbia. Quite unexpectedly, Edelman found herself a widow with two young daughters in the New Jersey community of Montclair. One of her children prodded her to find a new mate, and she embarked upon a successful, if quirky, quest that ultimately drew the attention of the New York Times. When Edelman, a self-employed publicist, began to write about her dating adventures, she decided to employ fictitious elements upon the advice of her publisher. The resulting work has been called "an absolute gem" and "a very sweet love story" by Lori Waddington in BookLoons.

Edelman was happily married and a self-employed publicist when tragedy struck her family in 2001. Her husband died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage, and she found herself a somewhat reluctant entrant into the world of online dating services, blind dates, and bizarre encounters with an array of unsuitable companions. At one point, having already spent two thousand dollars with a professional matchmaker, Edelman implored her closest friends to help her find the right mate—she offered "a dream vacation" to the person who would introduce her to "Mr. Right." This persistence attracted the attention of the New York Daily News, and the periodical publicized her efforts. None of the more than 800 respondents to the newspaper article gained her approval. Eventually she married a man whom she had come to know as a friend and a neighbor.

All of these events provided grist for a humorous but poignant novel that is in part a meditation on the sudden loss of a loved one and the subsequent grief process, and in part a wry commentary on the singles scene among people of mature years. In Manless in Montclair, forty-something Isabel struggles to come to terms with her husband's sudden death, relying upon her family and friends for support. She agrees to begin dating again after her daughter asks for a daddy as a Chanukah gift. Isabel endures a string of encounters that at least offer her something to laugh about, but the ideal mate eludes her for quite awhile. Desperate, Isabel elicits the help of her friends, to no avail. Only after giving up her quest does she finally discover love and a partner with whom she wants to share her life.

In an interview with Cindy Bokma on the Conversations with Famous Writers Web site, Edelman said that she drew upon her own experiences for the novel, "but much of the story has been mixed around, some characters have been combined or made-up completely." On her home page, the author said she decided upon a happy ending because she likes them. Even so, she said the outcome of her character's fictitious life is more believable than her own courtship and second marriage to professional photographer Phil Leo. "In my defense I'd say that life has its ups and downs and that there's as much of a chance of things ending well as ending terribly," she wrote. "So why not look for the silver lining? Either way, you may as well try to enjoy the ride."

A Kirkus Reviews critic enjoyed following Isabel's vicissitudes in Manless in Montclair, calling the character "a joy to root for." The reviewer also found the novel to be "packed with sincerity and frankness." A Publishers Weekly contributor felt that Edelman's "bittersweet account of grief and moving-on" provides a "nice counterpoint to fluffy romances."

Edelman is also author of The Little Black Dress, an illustrated history of a staple in chic feminine attire.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2007, review of Manless in Montclair: A Novel: How a Happily Married Woman Became a Widow Looking for Love in the Wilds of Suburbia.

Library Journal, October 1, 2007, Karen Kleckner, review of Manless in Montclair, p. 58.

Newsweek, December 8, 1997, review of The Little Black Dress, p. 80.

New York Times, October 7, 2007, Eric V. Copage, "Vows: Amy Edelman and Phil Leo."

Publishers Weekly, September 17, 2007, review of Manless in Montclair, p. 33.

Town & Country, September, 1997, "The Mystique of the Little Black Dress," p. 56.

USA Today, May 13, 2008, Donahue, "Roundup: Mommy Lit," p. 4D.

ONLINE

Amy Edelman Home Page,http://www.amyedelman.com (June 8, 2008).

Baristanet,http://www.baristanet.com/ (August 14, 2007), Liz George, review of Manless in Montclair.

BookLoons,http://www.bookloons.com/ (June 8, 2008), Lori Waddington, review of Manless in Montclair.

Conversations with Famous Writers,http://conversationsfamouswriters.blogspot.com/ (November 26, 2007), Cindy Bokma, "Amy Holman Edelman, Manless in Montclair."

Outstanding Women Speakers,http://www.outstandingwomenspeak.com/ (June 8, 2008), author biography.