by Lee Nichols

July 2004
ISBN: 0-373-25063-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Red Dress Ink
Trade Paperback

One of Elle Medinaís career choices in high school was to be a manís mistress. To Elle, it was a dream life where one would be pampered with posh accommodations, gourmet meals, designer fashions, and never have to work for any of it.

Years later, Elle has done the next best thing to becoming a mistress; sheís the fiancťe of a highly paid attorney, Louis Ferris, who caters to her every whim. When Louis announces that he has married someone else, Elle begins to wish she had paid a little more attention in school and studied a trade of some sort. She canít sleep on her friendís sofa forever and her credit cards arenít paying for themselves. Now, she must grow up and realize that being an adult means a hell of a lot more than spending money and thinking only of herself. Real adults have to leave some of the drama at home.

Tales of A Drama Queen is the coming of age story that every woman should read. Itís an exceptionally written novel that enthralls the reader with profound insight, tear-starting wit, and characters so vivid that they inspire self-reflection.

Elle Medina is perhaps the most exciting and delightfully zany character to ever be penned. Slowly but surely, she rises each time she falls, yet manages to do it with such grace and humor that she inspires warm feelings of emotions, no matter how silly her most current mistake is. Who else could go in for job interview at a Planned Parenthood organization and end up not with a job offer, but a gynecological exam? Only Elle. If I could charm my bill collectors with the same ease as Elle, I would definitely be on Cloud Nine.

Thereís something about Elle, and her wacky look on life, something thatís uplifting and almost surreal. With Elle, Lee Nichols has brilliantly captured a birth on paper, from Elle the naÔve and contented lost, to Elle the wise one - who now wishes to find her way home using her own map.

Since Elle is such an extraordinary character, she could have carried the entire novel with just her thoughts. But Ms. Nichols wouldnít stand for that. That would have merely been a good book. Ms. Nichols wanted more. She wanted to exceed expectations and write a fantastic book by creating an entire cast of memorable characters to bring out the highlights of Elleís life. She achieved her goal with such remarkable standouts as Carlos, the sensitive collections agent who canít help but befriend Elle even while trying to get her to pay her debts, and Nyla, the lovely but scared woman Elle helps to find happiness. Merrick is the unforgettable sensible gentleman with a heart of gold. Heís a serious architect who often forgets to laugh. Falling for Elle becomes a sure-fire cure for that problem.

From page one to the very last sentence of the book, these characters waltz through a refreshingly fun story that teaches valuable life lessons without any pressure. Itís hard to believe Tales of A Drama Queen is a debut novel. Itís impossible to believe if the rumors are true that things can only get better the second time around because thereís nothing better than perfect. And with this book, Lee Nichols has gone there.

Reviewed in June 2004 by Natasha.

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