The Lion is In, Delia Ephron

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Some families are gifted with a creative streak that seems to be encoded in the DNA.  That is how artistic
dynasties such as the Barrymores and the Fondas are born.  While both of those famous families shared their gifts mostly in front of the camera, they would be nothing without the efforts of people like the Ephrons.  Delia Ephron, author of The Lion is In, is one of four sisters born to a Jewish family in Beverly Hills.  The most famous of the sisters is probably Norah, who was nominated three times for an Academy award for Original Screenplay, and who won the BAFTA for her movie When Harry Met Sally.  Sadly, Norah died of complications from leukemia in 2012, but her sisters-writers all-are carrying on the family tradition of excellence in screenwriting and journalism.

Delia Ephron is probably best known for her screenplay for You've Got Mail, but she has also written several books for both adults and young people.  Her 2012 novel, The Lion is In, is a quirky novel, part Boys on the Side, part Thelma and Louise, that showcases the usual cast of lovable, flawed female characters.  We start with Lana and Tracee-Lana, a recovering alcoholic with an anger problem, and her best friend Tracee, runaway bride (at least, she convinced herself she was going to be a bride) and kleptomaniac.  On the run from the police, they pick up Rita walking along the side of the road.  Rita is running away from her Holy Roller husband and stifling life.  When their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, they are forced to find shelter in a run-down night club, where they meet Marcel.  Marcel will have a profound effect on all of their lives, helping each of them figure out something important about themselves that allows them to find the strength to take control of their lives.  Oh, and for what it's worth, Marcel is a lion.

In true female buddy story style, the plot plays out like a comedy of errors, with lots of slightly ridiculous situations interspersed with moments of insight.  The most moving of the storylines is Rita's.  While Tracee and Lana both created a lot of their own problems through bad life choices, Rita's life was the result of falling into a bad marriage, and being bullied into submission by her domineering husband.  This very short novel is not long on substance, but it is an enjoyable read, with enough quirks to make it interesting, despite the somewhat cliched themes about women finding their own power.


  1. I agree with you-- I liked this book. It's hard to find a book to recommend to customers who don't want "anything bad to happen," but this one fits the bill.

  2. Yeah, it's pretty innocuous as "bad things" go-though I am always surprised by people who don't want to read anything that will make them feel sad or angry. What else is good literature for but to explore all aspects of what it is to be human?


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