by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet; Grand Central Publishing, 2009; 320 pages; $7.99
Sundays at Tiffany’s is a collaboration between a master of mysteries, James Patterson, and Gabrielle Charbonnet. The book is a mysterious love story about 8-year-old Jane and her adult imaginary friend, Michael.
Set in New York, there is something Peter Pan-like about this novel. No one can see Michael but Jane, as they sit each Sunday across the table from each other eating hot fudge sundaes and people-watching.
It’s not long before the time comes for Michael to leave to help another child. He tells Jane when she falls asleep that night she will wake up having forgotten him, yet, Jane does not forget.
As Jane grows into adulthood under the thumb of a seemingly cold-hearted mother and an absent father, she longs for Michael’s company. Then one day years later, she spots him walking down the street in New York. Michael can’t believe Jane remembers their history, and neither can wrap their mind around the fact that they can see, touch and talk to one another. And, as in any good fairytale, our characters begin to fall in love, bringing mass confusion into their relationship. They both struggle with the inevitable. Will Michael age? Will he be able to stay with her? Is he a man or a spirit?
Michael promises Jane he would never leave her again. But then things take a turn for the worse, and he is forced to leave, breaking Jane’s heart. Fantasy becomes all too real as their world takes a 180-degree turn.
Broken-hearted, Jane turns to her mother Vivienne for help, but finds a sick woman instead. It is here that Sundays at Tiffany’s delves into the very adult issues of death, closure and long-over-due apologies. It’s during these times that Jane begins to reclaim her life from those who have run rough-shod over her for years. Now, it is time for Vivienne, who is still ill, to reach out in need for her daughter.
For Jane, it was a dream come true to know her mother needed and loved her all these years. And it is Vivienne who will bring the lovers back together again, and the dialogue among the three of them is magical.
Sundays at Tiffany’s is a gender-friendly read that will soon be a Lifetime movie starring Alyssa Milano. Patterson and Charbonnet make a quality team that stimulates the imagination. It’s what makes this fairytale a feel-good keeper.
Charlene Harris is a freelance writer in Anniston.