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You can hear J. And, two, with the benefit of hindsight, they tend to become extremely self-conscious when using pronouns. He, she, it, they —whatever. He greeted me at the front door of his new home, which he shares with a childhood friend—he and Laura Albert separated last fall—in a blue-collar neighborhood by the beach; most of his things were still at his old apartment downtown on Russian Hill, from which he says Laura had locked him out. According to Geoff, they are in the midst of a legal wrangle over their communal property, a dispute complicated by the fact that the couple, though Geoff says they functioned as married, never bothered with the civic niceties of matrimony—that and the dawning realization that J.

On the advice of their lawyers, they only speak regarding their 8-year-old son, whom they share custody of. Geoff had a complicated mix of motivations for talking to me. On the one hand, he seemed to want genuinely to come clean, to atone for deceptions he had helped visit upon people he admired and in some cases was close to. On the other hand, he was also angry that his contributions to J. There was, perhaps predictably, a third motive for talking: he is hoping to cut book and movie deals. LeRoy often seemed interested more in name-dropping and expense-account meals than in the spartan but—people say—soul-nourishing rewards of the traditional literary life, it may have been because Laura and Geoff had for years been getting by on economic fumes.

Laura, born in , grew up in Brooklyn Heights. Her parents, both educators, split when she was young; she would often intimate to friends that hers had been a difficult childhood. She also became part of the earlys punk scene in the East Village. With abundant drugs and sometimes ugly sex, it was a scene that would contribute ingredients to J. His parents split when Geoff was two. For a time, the family went on welfare. A band he was in earned a studio tryout with I. Records in , when he was only 17, but, in the way of these things, the group fell apart before anything jelled.

That remained his biggest break for nearly two decades. Geoff and Laura met in San Francisco in when both were In truth, he was impressed as much by her musical talent, which was raw, as by her energy and fearlessness; she seemed like someone who could make things happen. They began performing together as an acoustic duo, though she felt uncomfortable onstage, self-conscious about her weight. In less pressured settings she could shine: friends remember a woman with a theatrical flair and a gift for storytelling; she was also a fabulous mimic, making people laugh with imitations of acquaintances.

Eventually Geoff and Laura moved in together, sharing a small studio apartment. For fun, they would sometimes call up local bands they admired and, pretending to be reporters, arrange to meet them. According to Geoff, she would starve herself for weeks before concerts but still felt self-conscious onstage. Laura polished her cold-calling skills by way of her day job working for a phone-sex service.

Aided by her gift for mimicry, she would become whomever clients wanted her to be—a Japanese girl named Yokiko, a black woman named Keisha, a dominatrix. Geoff and Laura also contributed a spoken-word vignette about cross-dressing. According to Geoff, they kept their eyes firmly on the prize. The fact that she was once again flexing her writing muscles, Geoff says, led her back to fiction. At the New School, she had sometimes written in the voice of a young southern boy, and she tapped into that voice again.

Late at night, she and Geoff would lie in bed and she would read her latest work. In another, the mother fed the boy methamphetamine. Laura herself sometimes seemed surprised by what ended up on the page. When she read to him Laura would use her normal voice, but from time to time Geoff would come into the apartment and discover that she was talking to herself in the voice of a southern boy.


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He found this unnerving until he finally put two and two together when she began calling writers pretending to be the teenager. According to Geoff, there was a precedent for this too: when Laura had moved to San Francisco from New York, she called a hotline for abused teenagers, pretending to be a young boy who needed to get away from a bad home situation. Laura had become obsessed with his novel Try, which featured a teenage male protagonist who, like J.

On the phone, she initially said her name was Terminator, which was supposedly J. In a boyishly breathless voice, Terminator told Cooper he was a huge, huge fan and wanted to interview him for a music magazine. According to Geoff, there was no aha! In both their eyes the Terminator calls were only extensions of what they had been doing for years—pretending to be reporters, role-playing for phone-sex clients, making cold calls to promote the band.

Cooper had passed Terminator on to the similarly edgy novelist Bruce Benderson, who in turn put him in touch with Joel Rose. The young writer also struck up relationships with the poet Sharon Olds and the novelist and short-story writer Mary Gaitskill.

Laura’s Big Break

Soon, everyone who was anyone in the literary world seemed to at least be acquainted with J. Another person J. Terrence Owens, a San Francisco psychologist who works with abused and drug-addicted kids. Other times, he would play people tapes of his therapy sessions with Owens—perhaps the ultimate test of friendship.

In the public J. Citing patient-therapist confidentiality— still —Owens declined to be interviewed. Given that the voice on the other end of the line was ostensibly a homeless teenager calling from, say, a pay phone in front of a shooting gallery, most writers were only too happy to extend themselves. But Terminator, who early on also went by Jeremy and Jeremiah, could be an exhausting and demanding phone friend.

He would call three or four times a day, often late at night.

Janet Elizabeth Henderson

But I felt like, how can I begrudge this kid? Not many in a come-on way, more in a juvenile, loved-to-provoke way. Kind of like testing boundaries. In inspired moments she would go back and forth on the phone between Emily and J. The name Astor she made up off the top of her head one day when she needed to refer to Geoff; he has no idea where it came from, though at the time he thought the name was pretty cool. I am a father figure. Their conversations were charged. Over time, the older writer, like many of J.

If this kid ends up dead, he ends up dead. Owens had been distributing J. I think I can get a book deal, but people are wondering if there really is a J. According to Geoff, she sprang this on him at the last minute, on a Sunday morning not long before the scheduled meeting with Dr. Owens, set for With only minutes to spare, they spotted someone blond, skinny, and strung-out: just the J.

Laura chatted him up while Geoff stayed in the car. At first the kid was wary—what exactly was this couple interested in? No problem. They drove to St. Owens worked; he was waiting for them in the parking lot. Several months later, Laura decided J.


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  • The rendezvous was set for a coffee shop, where Gaitskill would be waiting at a table. Just walk toward the table, start to sit down, look at her nervously for a second, freak out, and leave. Laura dashed out after him, pretended to comfort him on the street, and then returned to chat with Gaitskill, apologizing for J. Or, at least, as Emily. Geoff kept his cool and said J. And a limo. This was rock-star treatment for J. And I just remember wishing like, God, I wish we were real.

    Clearly this was no ordinary literary hoax, but what, then, was it? Certainly there was calculation.

    Writer and Historian

    According to Geoff, Laura had versed herself in the case of Anthony Godby Johnson, another sexually abused boy with AIDS who was rescued by a social worker; who published a best-selling memoir in , A Rock and a Hard Place; and who was later exposed as the likely invention of the supposed social worker. But masquerading as J. Geoff thinks that because of her self-consciousness about her appearance, Laura welcomed a way to venture into the world cloaked, present but hidden.

    In interviews, as J. But J. Why would you bother with this? On the phone, J. Owens, who assured the agent that J. A number of people I spoke to said J. There were four or five different personalities. She would consult J. Were these other characters just a bonus layer of deception—filigree from a master hoaxster? Was J. Dalloway on the phone. Laura herself may have revealed more than she intended when speaking as J.

    I have a different name that I use in the world, and maybe J. Karen Rinaldi eventually offered J. But there was another hurdle to overcome: how does a nonexistent writer, and a minor to boot, sign an enforceable contract? Brainstorm: Laura enlisted a close friend to play J. Conveniently, Uncle Bruce had his own good reasons for remaining as elusive as J. Uncle Bruce co-signed J. A corporation, Underdogs Inc. But the couple was cautious not to get too excited; they were still licking their wounds from Cyborgasm 2.

    Lewis had decided to rewrite Tobacco Road and had also developed a slightly campy sense of humor. By any measure, it is an impressive first novel, though maybe not to your or my taste. The stories that would be collected in The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things are more visceral and horrifying, though their power is undercut by sloppier writing and occasional descents into poor-little-waif kitsch. Geoff and Laura were thrilled when they first saw a positive notice of the book, in Spin. A glossy magazine! They were more thrilled when, after years of having to dragoon friends to come see their band, 30 strangers turned up spontaneously for the first reading of J.

    Sitting on a couch in his new living room, late-afternoon sun slanting in through a parlor window, Geoff was showing me a stack of photos, a visual record of J. We went to see them backstage at Saturday Night Live. This was phase two of J. Just feeling, like Braille. I hope it is a book people will feel. I guess my biggest fear is that no one will give a shit. Having already plowed through the literary world, and now with an actual product to sell, Laura moved on to more publicity-fertile fields. Send the stuff.

    Keep calling. It just snowballs. Geoff laughed when I asked about J. The missing piece in the charade had been an actual, physical J. Though with two mostly well-received books under his belt in as many years, he was doing better than 98 percent of the MacDowell Colony, Laura felt she needed a real J. Richard was long since out of the picture, and Laura had approached at least one other person to play J. Why not? But as with many twists in the J. Nobody was going to know or see it. This was not impeccable, Mission: Impossible —style subterfuge. Geoff and Laura bought a cheap wig in a store on Mission Street, then did some test shots with Savannah in a photo booth.

    Laura primed Savannah with a few details about J. The German crew shot Savannah walking around Polk Street and ducking into bookstores.

    Critical Role and the Club of Misfits - Critical Role - Special

    It all went off without a hitch. The impersonation was such a success that Laura decided to keep it going. When she did talk, people who had phone relationships with J. So sad: one more debilitating effect of all that abuse. Through a mix of luck and design, Laura had created a genuine icon. As tremulous as a broken-winged fledgling, this J.

    No one seemed to notice that the scars they had heard so much about had disappeared. It made total sense—Laura set this whole thing up brilliantly. When you meet this genderless thing, hiding behind a wig and sunglasses, you accept that as the damaged person who somehow is only able to communicate by phone. This new J. Dennis Cooper had known. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem.

    Return to Book Page. She'd rather stick a fork in her eye. Twelve years have passed since her disastrous one night stand with Charlie and they've barely exchanged two civil words in that time. She calls him the Neanderthal and he calls her The Iron Maiden. If it wasn't for the fact his sister was Laura's best friend, she wouldn't have anything at all to do with him. Charlie has come back from a stint in Afghanistan with a souvenir - nightmares.

    After one afternoon arguing with Laura, Charlie makes a wonderful discovery: she's so irritating, she scares away his dreams. So Charlie agrees to give her an interview - at a price. She has to accompany him on a two week cycling holiday in Holland, that way he might actually get the rest he needs. He takes particular delight in the plan because he knows that Laura hates exercise, loathes the outdoors and despises him. It feels good to have the upper hand for a change.

    Laura needs an interview. Charlie needs sleep. And they both need to grow up and get over the past. But not before Laura cycles into a canal, sets fire to a tent and posts nude pictures of Charlie on the internet - all with the hope of getting her story. Get A Copy. Published first published October 6th More Details Original Title. London Girls 2. Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews.

    To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Laura's Big Break , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Laura's Big Break is a steamy, quirky, funny, friends to lovers story. Okay, "friends" might be stretching it a bit. Laura and Charlie can hardly stand to be in the same room or tent, or country together.

    I enjoyed this story and read it in a day. The author has such a great way with dialog and creating characters we can relate to. It's a bit on the shorter side and some of the relationship building suffered for the lesser page count, but all in all, a very entertaining read! Henderson for providing copies of this book to the members of the Happily Ever After Cafe who participated in our Group Read. View all 7 comments. Extra "really" for Dhes and Pamela. There may have been a few bumps, but some parts were perfect, too. I'll definitely pick one of hers up again.

    I'll just post some pics from our "buddy read. Sorry, I couldn't find one that was all black. Photo by Ton le Jeune taken in Drente, Holland. Delft blue plates Giethoorn, Holland The town with no roads Holland Bike Shop Typical Dutch 'grandma-bike' which is still the most popular bike for women in Holland. Amsterdam is full of imprints like this Could go on a bike ride with the kids, following a "map" of symbols, or making our own adventure!

    Wooden shoes on a bike lane in Holland. From Wiki: A dacquoise is a dessert cake made with layers of almond and hazelnut meringue and whipped cream or buttercream. It takes its name from the feminine form of the French word dacquois , meaning 'of Dax', a town in southwestern France. It is usually served chilled and accompanied by fruit. A particular form of the dacquoise is the marjolaine , which is long and rectangular and combines almond and hazelnut meringue layers with chocolate buttercream. The term dacquoise can also refer to the nut meringue layer itself.

    View all 13 comments. Laura Prentice is told by her boss to get an interview with hero, Charlie Lewis, or forget about having a job. But Laura's relationship with Charlie isn't ideal for said interview. Charlie is Laura's best friend Maddie's brother. And twelve years ago Laura managed to seduce Charlie but things didn't end well.

    Of special interest...

    Now Charlie is a doctor and was caught on camera saving a little girl's life in Afghanistan. But Laura's boss is serious and Laura will do what is needed to keep her job. So she ends up fin Laura Prentice is told by her boss to get an interview with hero, Charlie Lewis, or forget about having a job. So she ends up finding herself on a bike tour of Holland with Charlie. This was a fun, humorous, entertaining read. It was not something that I would have picked on my own to read but I'm glad I did read it.

    I will more than likely more more by this author. View 2 comments. Charlie and Laura were neighbors and she was also his sister's best friend. After a disastrous quickie, where Laura loses her virginity, they go their separate ways. Laura's new boss asks commands her to write up an interview with the hottie hero and Laura meets up with Charlie. Charlie agrees to help her out, but she must go with h This is a fun, quirky romance between Laura aka The Iron Maiden and Charlie aka Neanderthal.

    Charlie agrees to help her out, but she must go with him on a 2-week holiday. They pack their bags and their bikes and off they go to Holland. The story is funny and fast-paced. Laura and Charlie learn to find themselves as they reach out and reconnect with each other. They both have important personal issues that hold them back. They're also endearing, and their fighting and bantering feels very real.

    Most scenes are sweet, and the descriptions of Holland are great. Loved the ending!! View all 17 comments. Shelves: romance-humor , 0-r2r-done , 1-own-ebook , 2-ibooks. And I was not disappointed. Laura is an aspiring journalist, stuck writing for a teen magazine. When she get's her big break, a position at a woman's magazine. The only problem, she must get an interview with the moron, neanderthal, screw up, Mr.

    Scared of Commitment, her first, her best friends brother, the cherry popper. Is the job really worth it? Really enjoyed this book! Laura was one balsy mad ass frank chick! Loved her, so very refreshing and nice her character was. Liked Charlie's character too! Total hunk! Brave, hot, caring and an idiot! Cute, small read. Hit first, ask questions later. View 1 comment. A cute and reluctant romance. My Take This was great! A sweet read of two people discovering all that they didn't know about each other. I loved this one, LOL: "Under the heading of 'other abilities' she could write 'scarier than armed conflict'.

    It's one of those things I dislike about journalists. Yes, A cute and reluctant romance. Yes, I am making a blanket judgment, but, as Claire says, next week the world will focus on something or someone else. In the meantime, the hatchet job a media outlet does on someone sticks to that person forever. It's not fair to force this on someone, especially when someone like Claire Douglas is going to twist it around simply to encourage her readership. Who cares how it hurts the guy? The general world will forget it, even if the people who know him will harass him about it for as long as their memory of it lasts.

    Okay, wait Sure, she makes a good point about his needing to grow up; she also needs to do some growing up, as Charlie has pointed out. Henderson did an interesting twist on her approach to this romance with a woman who is out there and the summerhouse-fling who avoids her I do have to wonder about a guy who is still so hormonally driven at twenty-three and still doesn't have much control. It's not an earthshaking story with great tension, but it certainly tips the drama quotient with its insight into two very different people who don't want to be attracted to each other.

    A bet, a deal, and two "children" ragging on each other. Growing into each other with each getting what they never knew they wanted. He knew better. Humor abounds from Laura's losses of control to Charlie's bits of revenge to fellow cyclists who enjoy the Laura show. The wedding Which campsite are you going to after this? Nice use of Laura's dysfunctional parents to bring a depth to Laura's issues.

    Laura's maneuver to first meet up with Charlie was brilliant if not actually practical in the real world. I definitely loved Henderson's resolution! Absolutely perfect and totally unexpected! The Story Ever since Charlie tore off after taking her virginity, Laura has really hated him. Now, she's going to be forced into his company. If she wants to keep that job she's struggled to achieve. The Characters Laura Prentice is a woman with whom you will always know where you stand, honest to a fault. No matter how painful or embarrassing.

    She's finally made it up to the adult audience magazines and she's determined to stay there! Claire Douglas is her bitch of a new boss at Francine magazine. No morals and no consideration. Maggie is Claire's unhappy assistant. Charlie Lewis , a. And a childhood neighbor. These days, he's Dr.

    Hottie at the Emergency Department ED , suffering through a viral video of a rescue he did in Afghanistan. Frank is a friend and senior nurse at the ED. Mark Chambers is with Medicine International and looking for an on-call doctor. The Cover The cover is in the spirit of the story, even if it doesn't reflect the actual tale. It's all about taking a chance, letting it fly free just as Laura's flip-flop-clad feet are doing through the open window of that car. No kidding! Charlie felt sick. Charlie felt light headed and bent over to restore the flow of blood.

    I think he's going to vomit. You know what I'm thinking while I'm reading this book? This: When I searched "romantic comedy" in Tumblr, this is what I found and I think it's safe to say that this gif and this book is perfect for each other. A biking trip "I'm here because I love you. A biking trip in Holland? Epic fail biking moments?

    Laura’s Big Break – Janet Elizabeth Henderson

    Burning tents and a dive in a canal? What more could you ask for? View all 3 comments. This book was an easy read - perfect in-between book for when you've been reading a lot of serious novels! Laura Prentice just got her first big girl job with a women's magazine, and her first assignment is to interview philanthropist hottie doctor Charlie Lewis. Problem is, she and Charlie go waaaay back Can she suck it up to get the interview and save her job, or will Dr Hottie refuse to play nice? I think we all This book was an easy read - perfect in-between book for when you've been reading a lot of serious novels!

    Janet Elizabeth Henderson

    I think we all know where the story ends, but it's still delicious good fun. It was funny. The Hero and heroine are enemies. Not too keen on the Hero and his attitude to relationships, she feels any woman that is available is okay with him. No intimate scenes with anyone other than the Hero and heroine.