Thursday, September 24, 2015

Book Review: Heads or Tails by Leslie A. Gordon

Heads or Tails

by Leslie A. Gordon

Genre: Women's Fiction

189 pages



“Take my baby.”

Hillary can’t believe the words her best friend Margot just uttered. Deeply committed to her devoutly childless marriage, Hillary doesn’t know the first thing about infants – and has zero interest in learning. But Margot’s post-partum depression has reached a dangerous peak. With the baby a sperm donor production and Margot’s mother Jean suffering from Parkinson’s, there’s no one else. And for reasons nobody knows, Hillary owes both Margot and Jean.

Suddenly, Hillary is forced to bring the baby from Manhattan to San Francisco, where she works as general contractor for the city’s hottest restoration company. Right away, the baby’s arrival exposes hairline cracks in Hillary’s marriage to Jesse and stirs up latent resentment towards her parents, who’d been too overcome with grief to ever parent her properly. Before long, Hillary finds herself doing all kinds of things she vowed never to do, including things with her handsome and mysterious neighbor Abe. And then the question arises: should this arrangement become permanent?

Fans of Jodi Picoult, Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner will be drawn to the fresh premise of HEADS OR TAILS, a story that explores themes of friendship and loyalty and what happens when your core identity is challenged. Perfect for book clubs, the Kindle edition concludes with questions for discussion.

The gripping second novel from the author of Cheer: A Novel, HEADS OR TAILS will stay with you long after you’ve read the final page.

My Rating:

Favorite Quotes:

“At some point, we reach a place in life when we’re sure there will be no more surprises.  The time is different for everyone, but the feeling – a settling, a resignation – is the same.  We know everyone we’re going to know.  We may encounter new clients or neighbors, the kinds of people who come and go, the kind that don’t last.  But eventually, we come to understand that the old flame is not going to return decades later, and that no one truly revolutionary is going to cross our paths.  Our people are our people.”

“I was essentially raised by default by an African-American woman from Alabama.  Virginia was our live-in housekeeper and, truth be told, my primary care-giver, even though that wasn’t part of her job description.  While she was hired to keep house and prepare meals, she obviously had had some effect on me from the earliest days.  This was evidenced by my first complete sentence: “Lawdhammercy Jesus, I done lost my shoe.”

“Secretly, I was convinced that Rebecca became a therapist so she could legitimately tell people what to do.” 

My Review:

Against her better judgement and knowing full well that it would greatly upset her husband, Hillary agrees to take on total childcare of her best friend’s baby, due to dire circumstances.  This causes considerable strain and upheaval on her household, marriage, employment, and finances.  While thrust into the unfamiliar tasks of caring for an infant, she filters through memories of her own childhood as well as working through her feelings toward her cold and distant parents.  Caring for the child proved to be a life-altering experience for her, not just due to the energy and physical tasks involved, but in the emotional connections made, remembered, and now better understood.  Self and family revelations shook her foundation and significant insights were gained into her past, which fostered change in her present and required her to restructure her long held beliefs and assumptions.  Heads or Tails is thoughtfully written with sparkles of wry humor.  The story is insightful as well as entertaining. 

Empress DJ

A "recovering" lawyer and longtime legal affairs journalist, Leslie A. Gordon has wanted to be a novelist since she was eight. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and children.

Learn more about the author at

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