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The Best Place to Be

3.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  80 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
"I looked out the window and was filled with contentment. I was on a train. There was no landscape, ugly or beautiful, to demand my attention . . . None of the passengers within my view were badly dressed. I had the right book with me . . . I was happily married but alone, nothing in the immediate past to regret, nothing in the immediate future to fear. In between -- the b ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published April 3rd 2007 by Simon & Schuster
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Aug 19, 2007 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: recentgoodones
These stories are pretty loosely connected, so it's more a book of short stories than it is a novel, and some stories are better than others. (I like the title story best.)I really like Leslie Dorman's voice. I feel like she would be an interesting, intelligent friend. Here is my favorite passage:
"I was happily married but alone, nothing in the immediate past to regret, nothing in the immediate future to fear. In between- the best place to be."

I thought I was the only one who would think that wa
Feb 04, 2016 Jon rated it really liked it
I came to this collection sight unseen, and I am happy to have read it. The first couple of stories were especially exquisite, managing to do the usual contemporary story thing not so much with original flair as with sheer skill. Those early stories left me feeling as if I were reading the work of a master whose talent was so genuine, so impressive, that there really is a reason some people go on to find publishing success and others, while good writers, do not. Dormen's every word and phrase wa ...more
Kerrilynn Pamer
Jun 25, 2007 Kerrilynn Pamer rated it liked it
Just read this in an afternoon. I know the author and think she's wonderful. This novel makes me think of her and smile, she comes across in this book as herself, a woman who has seen a lot and has wisdom and inspiration to offer up to younger women. So readable and so enjoyable, just like her.
Abby Sominski
Apr 25, 2008 Abby Sominski rated it it was ok
These connected stories felt more like connected thoughts and not all that interesting ones. I realized the stories weren't in chronological order and all that did was make her whining about being single and lonely less bearable because you knew she ended up with someone eventually.
Taije Silverman
Jul 28, 2007 Taije Silverman rated it really liked it
wickedly funny, sad, self-aware, and delicious. The morphologies of a city, love, and self happen around and inside each other through the voice of a narrator who has renewed my affection for irony.
Feb 17, 2009 Anna rated it liked it
When I learned that The Best Place to Be by Lesley Dormen was a novel in stories, I was intrigued. I read a book last year that claimed to be a novel in stories, but I was disappointed. In my mind, the stories should stand up by themselves (they are stories, after all), but together, they should enhance one another and pull it all together. Dormen accomplished this and more.

Telling the stories in the first person (and out of order, beginning with Grace at age 50) showcases Grace’s quirkiness and
May 15, 2008 Anne rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jenni
4 stars for each individual story; 3 stars for the book as a whole

I first read Dormen's work in the December 2001 Atlantic Monthly (, as assigned by my wonderful writing teacher at the time, Greg Lichtenberg. [side note: If I could afford it, I would pay that man just to talk to me about fiction. If anyone gets a chance to take any kind of class with him anywhere, do it.] The story was "The Old Economy Husband," and while some of my classmates worried it
Apr 11, 2010 Lindsay rated it it was ok
So, I didn't really like or hate this book. The reason I bought it is because I liked the title and because it follows the main character throughout different parts of her life, which is the type of book I love to read, because you really the get feel of a person when you can see how they have changed throughout the years. But I think that my problem with this book was that I was never really sure what age she was during the chapters. Clearly the one where she's in college made sense, but it fel ...more
Sep 18, 2012 Sue rated it it was ok
I'm not sure where all the negativity is coming from with this. It wasn't the best thing l've read recently, but it was by no means a bad book. And l think it was what was advertised: a novel of short stories. Here are snippets out of the life of an average American woman and l found them to be very relatable and well written. No, there are no deep insights into our human condition or the state of our culture or anything like that, but it was good and it was short.
Jan 16, 2010 Monica rated it it was ok
An interesting collection of stories about different ages throughout her life. Dormen has a very interesting way of interweaving narratives in a stream-of-consciousness prose style. While the prose is very carefully constructed, at times I was lost within the rambling voice and at other times this style kept me at arm's length from connecting emotionally with the material. Overall, worth a read but for me not all that captivating.
Oct 18, 2011 Kristie rated it it was ok
I started the beginning of this book liking it very much. I like the quirkiness and disconnecting story. Then I just got annoyed toward the middle. At the end I realized I found some of this book endearing and the rest just plain old irritating. It was a super quick read, 3 days although I could have finished it in an hour or two if I had been intrigued enough to.
Aug 24, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007
This is a life told in first person through short story chapters. Grace is likable and the stories feel honest and recognizable. Some great lines are sprinkled throughout the book. "The problem with spending most of your time in books is you can produce words for any occasion - You just don't know what you are talking about."
Feb 02, 2009 Terri rated it really liked it
I met this author at a recent writers conference, so I purchased her book. I really enjoyed it a lot. The character of Grace is finely drawn and as a female baby boomer, I could really resonate with the stories and I loved the nostalgia the author's writing brought back to me.
Jun 19, 2007 Marjanne rated it liked it
Recommends it for: adult women
I really enjoyed the format of this book. It was like reading several short stories, though the main character was the same, just at a different point in life. I felt like the character was developed, though maintained a bit of mystery. It is a good short read.
May 27, 2009 Julie rated it liked it
I like this for all the symbolism, but hated it for the same thing. Maybe I'm just not smart enough to get it, or maybe there's not much to get. Still, it was somewhat enjoyable and just a little tedious.
Melrose Park Library
Another satisfying character study, told as a novel-in-stories. Readers can sit back and enjoy fifty-year-old Grace Hanford’s reflections and recollections of life and love in New York City.
Mar 08, 2008 Margaret rated it it was ok
speaks to middle-aged women still having a life, new york scenes, an easy read
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