Sunday, January 25, 2004
"The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters" opens with a letter from Olivia Hunt to her sister, Madeline, still safely nestled inside her mother's womb -- "I like writing this letter. It's like you're here. Only you're invisible."
More than 25 years later, Olivia is still writing letters to her sister, who is now married and living in their Ohio hometown while Olivia tries to find true love and make it big as a Hollywood producer.
Dumped by her boyfriend, recently fired by Universal Pictures and "what's more, I'm not the blonde I used to be," Olivia is on her fourth draft of a suicide note when she learns that Maddie has leukemia.
Elisabeth Robinson's first novel then traces the lives of the Hunt sisters as Maddie battles cancer and Olivia tries to pull her life into some semblance of order, as told through Olivia's letters and e-mails to family, friends, business associates and ex-lover Michael.
Some letters are superficial: "Dear Mel, I've got a few scripts in development, and one has a great role for you. ... Think 'Dances With Wolves' meets 'The Mission."' Some are angry: "Dr. Jones, Thanks for the totally useless advice." Some are pleading: "Dear Tina, Please just throw this away if you've called me back and accepted my sincere apology." And some are truly heartfelt, especially her letters to Maddie.
All the while, Olivia shuttles between Los Angeles and Ohio as she tries to care for Maddie, mend broken relationships and put her producing career on track.
Robinson, an independent producer and screenwriter, draws from her personal and professional experiences to create a believable, imperfect heroine.