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It's About Your Husband
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BOOK DETAILS

Lauren gives an overview of the book:

What do you do when the Big Apple bites back? San Fernando Valley native Iris Hedge left her husband and traded coasts for the job of a lifetime, only to lose it in a New York minute. Now unattached, unemployed, and broke, she dreads her loneliness and imminent credit card bills, until she offered an exciting, new gig: spying on a possibly cheating, uptown husband named Steve. Soon Iris is trading her business wardrobe for the stalker chic of sweatpants and dark eyewear, and navigating the hazards of urban surveillance--Central Park's harsh dog-walking rules, rejection from exclusive boutiques, and a series of unnatural hair colors. But as she steps into uncharted territory, she wonders if her life will ever go back to normal--and if normal is anything she--will ever be happy with again.
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What do you do when the Big Apple bites back?

San Fernando Valley native Iris Hedge left her husband and traded coasts for the job of a lifetime, only to lose it in a New York minute. Now unattached, unemployed, and broke, she dreads her loneliness and imminent credit card bills, until she offered an exciting, new gig: spying on a possibly cheating, uptown husband named Steve.

Soon Iris is trading her business wardrobe for the stalker chic of sweatpants and dark eyewear, and navigating the hazards of urban surveillance--Central Park's harsh dog-walking rules, rejection from exclusive boutiques, and a series of unnatural hair colors. But as she steps into uncharted territory, she wonders if her life will ever go back to normal--and if normal is anything she--will ever be happy with again.

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It’s About Your Husband 
by Lauren Lipton

ONE

Val is not herself today.

It isn’t like her to be so subdued. She doesn’t call to me as I make my way up the carved marble staircase, its edges worn smooth by generations of arrivals and departures. She doesn’t wave me over once I reach the top of the stairs and wrestle through the crowd, elbowing past Wednesday-afternoon revelers raising their glasses to celebrate the end of another workday. She doesn’t look up after I get myself a beer and approach her table, or offer any comment as I stand, dumbfounded, before the remarkable structure she has created. Here, in the mezzanine bar at Grand Central, with only a few square inches of table to work with, Val has erected a tower of shopping bags representing nearly every one of New York’s best B’s (Bendel’s, Barneys, Bergdorf’s…). I’m ashamed to say, in my own state of mentally unstable not-quite-myselfness, this is the only unusual thing I notice.

Shopping. There’s something else I won’t be doing for a while.

I take a deep breath and put on the happiest happy-hour smile I can muster. “Look at you!” I chirp, holding my beer glass in a death grip, shoehorning myself into the three-inch gap between the empty chair and the edge of her table, goggling at the bags while using my free hand to push them out of my way. I poke a Burberry back from the edge of the table, where it threatens to drop into my lap, but that only makes the rest of the pile teeter precariously. I clamp down on the Boyd’s of Madison at the top and struggle to shift my chair to one side without spilling beer on myself. Val makes no effort to help.  “If you wouldn’t mind,” I say, “could you help me move this stuff, just the tiniest—oh my goodness!”

Val is crying.

No. Not crying; sobbing. Tears skid down her flushed cheeks to her jawbone and pause at the abyss a moment before splashing into her untouched cocktail. She’s got mascara running down her wrist onto the sleeve of her pink cardigan; her demure, blond pageboy is all mussed; and she’s groping around in her pink, quilted Chanel chain purse, perhaps for a tissue.

“What is it? You poor thing!” I’m no longer thinking about shopping bags and am halfway to forgetting why I’ve been feeling so sorry for myself. Until this moment, it hadn’t occurred to me that Val could get this upset about anything.  Her tears are as unsettling as anything else I’ve dealt with over the past few days. “What’s wrong? What’s the matter? This isn’t about me, is it? Because, really, I’ll be all right.” 

She can’t possibly be crying over me. Heaven knows I’m upset—rootless, loveless and unexpectedly jobless. But Val is distraught. Trembling and pale, with a red, brimming gaze that, at last, she turns on me.  “My husband is…” she clears her throat. “He’s…ahem.”  She takes a bracing swig of her pink parasol drink, sets it back down and folds her hands on the table. “My husband is cheating,” she says. “Again.”

Her delivery—calculated, with a pause for emphasis between each word—makes it seem as if she’s accusing me. It might be that she all at once looks more incensed than heartbroken, or the way she’s staring me dead in the eye. “Again,” she repeats icily, and it’s as if I am the other woman, here to confess all and beg forgiveness for coming between Val and her husband. That’s when something dawns on me. Several somethings. One, Val is a vintage-clothing connoisseur who would no sooner patronize any of these B-stores than she would cry like a baby in the middle of Grand Central Terminal on an early-May afternoon. Two, Val only wears black. Three, demure? Blond? Pageboy?

And there’s one very last little something.

Val doesn’t have a husband.

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Note from the author coming soon...

About Lauren

Lauren Lipton is the author of Mating Rituals of the North American WASP (May 2009) and It's About Your Husband (October 2006), both from Grand Central Publishing. She is also a freelance journalist who covers social trends and media for the New York Times, the Wall Street...

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