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Any Place I Hang My Hat

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Amy was barely born with a spoon in her mouth let alone a silver one. Her mother abandoned her before her first birthday and her father, a small-time crook, was in jail more time than he was out. Raised by her flaky and slightly felonious grandmother, Amy worked hard and managed to get scholarships to boarding school, then Harvard, then the Columbia School of Journalism. But now -- a few years into her stint as a reporter for a prestigious magazine -- she doesn't know who she is or how to connect with the world. Seeking answers, she sets out to find the mother she never knew...and maybe a place to belong.

447 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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About the author

Susan Isaacs

60 books441 followers
I was born in a thatched cottage in the Cotswolds. Oh, you want the truth. Fine. I was born in Brooklyn and educated at Queens College. After leaving school, I saw one of those ads: BE A COMPUTER PROGRAMMER! Take our aptitude test. Since I had nothing else in mind, I took the test-and flunked. The guy at the employment agency looked at my resume and mumbled, “You wrote for your college paper? Uh, we have an opening at Seventeen magazine.” That’s how I became a writer.

I liked my job, but I found doing advice to the lovelorn and articles like “How to Write a Letter to a Boy” somewhat short of fulfilling. So, first as a volunteer, then for actual money, I wrote political speeches in my spare time. I did less of that when I met a wonderful guy, Elkan Abramowitz, then a federal prosecutor in the SDNY.

We were married and a little more than a year later, we had Andrew (now a corporate lawyer). Three years later, Elizabeth (now a philosopher and writer) was born. I’d left Seventeen to be home with my kids but continued to to do speeches and the occasional magazine piece. During what free time I had, I read more mysteries than was healthy. Possibly I became deranged, but I thought, I can do this.

And that’s how Compromising Positions, a whodunit with a housewife-detectives set on Long Island came about. Talk about good luck: it was chosen the Main Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, auctioned for paperback, sold to the movies, translated into thirty languages, and became a bestseller. I was a little overwhelmed by the success. However, it’s hard to rise to a state of perpetual cool and go to slick downtown parties when you’re living in the suburbs with a husband, two kids, two dogs, and a mini-van, I simply wrote another book… and then another and another.

About half my works are mysteries, two fall into the category of espionage, and the rest are…well, regular novels. In the horn-tooting department, nearly all my novels have been New York Times bestsellers.

My kids grew up. My husband became a defense lawyer specializing in white collar matters: I call him my house counsel since I’m always consulting him on criminal procedure, the justice system, and law enforcement jargon. Anyway, after forty-five years of writing all sorts of novels—standalones—I decided to write a mystery series. I conceived Corie Geller with a rich enough background to avoid what I’d always been leery of—that doing a series would mean writing the same book over and over, changing only the settings.

I also produced one work of nonfiction, Brave Dames and Wimpettes: What Women are Really Doing on Page and Screen. I wrote a slew of articles, essays, and op-ed pieces as well. Newsday sent me to write about the 2000 presidential campaign, which was one of the greatest thrills of my life-going to both conventions, riding beside John McCain on the Straight Talk Express, interviewing George W. Bush. I also reviewed books for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and Newsday. (My website has far more information about my projects than most people would want to know, but have a look.)

In the mid-1980s, I wrote the screenplay for Paramount’s Compromising Positions which starred Susan Sarandon and Raul Julia. I also wrote and co-produced Touchstone’s Hello Again which starred Shelley Long, Gabriel Byrne, and Judith Ivey. (My fourth novel, Shining Through, set during World War II became the 20th Century Fox movie starring Michael Douglas, Melanie Griffith and Liam Neeson. I would have written the script, except I wasn’t asked.)

Here’s the professional stuff. I’m a recipient of the Writers for Writers Award, the Marymount Manhattan Writing Center Award, and the John Steinbeck Award. I just retired (after over a decade) as chairman of the board of the literary organization, Poets & Writers. I also served as president of Mystery Writers of America. I belong to the National Book Critics Circle, the Creative Coalition, PEN, the Ameri

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5 stars
205 (9%)
4 stars
626 (28%)
3 stars
946 (43%)
2 stars
334 (15%)
1 star
87 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 281 reviews
1,034 reviews7 followers
February 19, 2010
This book captures in an unexpected way the intersection between what we want from the people we love and our ability to trust them to give it to us. It's nuanced in an unusual way so that you're right with the narrator.

[I also finished it in the hours of our car ride home, despite four other awake people distracting me. That is the measure of a good book, right? heh, heh:]
Profile Image for Janet.
399 reviews29 followers
August 24, 2007
I have always liked Susan Isaacs. She is witty & funny & writes great dialogue. Most of her humor is wonderful sarcasm - a personal favorite. But she overdoes it to the extreme in this book - she's just not content to write one witty, sarcastic remark at a time. Even the smallest observation that has nothing whatsoever to do with the story merits sometimes 5 or 6 comments - each good in its own right but it gets annoying. The story itself is a good one but it too is overdone. Almost every time she encounters a character after a short time apart (sometimes only hours) she writes of their personal traits, their family background, their education, employment, childhood .......... and then she tells how her background relates to that of the character - every time she meets them no matter how insignificant the scene. I found myself wanting to skip ahead to the end (which was sadly predictable). So, yes, I will read another of her books because this is the first big disappointment.
Profile Image for Ptreick.
220 reviews3 followers
February 23, 2013
I'm giving this three stars because really, the writing is good. Isaacs is queen of the one-liners and witty observations, none of which I could remember five minutes later. And the story ended up the way it should, in my mind -- a love story without any sap or melodrama.

That said... the central plot line (even that is difficult to really say -- is it Amy and John, or Amy's search for her mother?) was drawn waaaaay out with information that in no way seemed necessary. Lots of information about Amy's job as a reporter for In-Depth, and way too much information about In-Depth in the first place. There was a pointless conversation with her boss over an issue not at all related to the book which almost got Amy fired, and then a "make up with the boss" scene -- but why? As filler? As a way for the author to increase the suspense for the meeting-her-mother scene? It didn't work for me. Freddy Carrasco got way too much page time in this book -- when he just seemed to be an excuse for the author to muse on her own parentage. And Tatty -- an unlikely best friend for someone of Amy's intellectual ability -- serves no real purpose, except for the author to rehash things that already happened -- things that I, the reader, already know. About 2/3 of the way through the book, Amy becomes concerned that Tatty only looks for men in bars, and men in bars (don't you know) are necessarily full-fledged alcoholics. What? Back to the story, please.

Even within scenes where I was engaged and interested in where the story was going, suddenly there would be a distracting tangent. Who's calling -- John? Well, no, but in her excitement to answer the phone, Amy falls off the couch and sustains several broken ribs. Excuse me? Does this happen? Is it really possible? Amy's about to learn information about her grandparents from the woman who bought their home -- and instead, there's a long musing about the decor of the living room.

Hmm. I was with this book about 60% of the time, and I like a smart, feisty heroine, but still.
21 reviews1 follower
June 15, 2015
Maybe I'm a cynic. I found this at a used book sale, signed, and gave it a go. I thought I'd relate to it, despite the chick-lit feel to the plot. The main character is a writer who had a rough start, but has a strong will and work ethic. And yet I didn't end up wanting to relate to her at all.
Usually, if I don't like a main character I have a hard time finishing the book. I made myself finish the book.
For starters, the first few chapters include startling spelling and grammatical typos. What happened there? The narrative comes of as trying so hard to be funny and 'New York kitschy', without succeeding. The stereotypes in the book are pretty thick, and if the main character reminded me one more time that she went to Harvard, or that her father went to jail, and that she was a writer for In Depth, I would have wondered if my memory had left me. Didn't she say that a few pages back? Well, here it is again.
Lastly, again, being a cynic and having s negative view of the wedding industrial complex...getting upset that your boyfriend doesn't propose after only two years?
Yikes. Poor guy.
Profile Image for Bethany.
61 reviews6 followers
May 31, 2011
I enjoyed this book well enough. It was a nice "finding myself" story with a a cheesy love story thrown in, minus a lot of the cheese and a bit of real-life relationships-are-not-always-awesome thrown in. You meet the main character after her rags to riches conversion from daughter of a criminal turned Ivy League educated gorgeous journalist, which is admittedly hard to relate to for us "normal" people. The first person perspective is nice, and the writing style is very detailed. Although the author's style is not the over-flowery ridiculousness that drives me batty describing every speck of color on a flower petal and the emotional meaning behind 12 of the 142 motes of dust in a sunbeam, it does require some intellectual commitment to get through. People who like big words and like a nice love story without the sap will enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Susan Schimmel.
254 reviews
May 27, 2018
This is the second Susan Isaacs book I have read and it will be my last. I was very happy to finally read the last page of a novel that seemed full of filler narrative. Some of the characters are just too gratuitously ludicrous. A farting, spitting boss - really? A handsome, loving crook of a father now been kept my a ‘sugar mommy’ who believes him to be twenty years younger than his actual age; a spoilt rich girl best friend who has a deep interest in couture clothing and whose parents are so drunk they fall asleep at the dinner table. Had this writing been more succinct, the storyline would have been more compelling.
Profile Image for Rhonda.
64 reviews
July 31, 2010
Amy Lincoln, the main character,in "Any Place I Hang MY Hat", is a smart young woman who has made her way in the world. She is plucky and flawed. Even though Issacs is wonderfully talented and has a great way with modern description and insight into the life of the single women, however,I never really got immersed in the plot. I always felt like an outsider and kept thinking that the story could have been told in half the time and been twice as engaging. This book was not for me.
Profile Image for Roxanne.
19 reviews10 followers
March 13, 2014
While the premise of the book was interesting enough, the main character is just so pretentious, catty, and at times downright mean, I found it difficult to get to the end. I had such a hard time finding anything likable about this girl, from her petty rationale about John to the awkward back-and-forth between her and the estranged mother. If you're looking for a book that will bring up some actual emotion, this ain't it.
23 reviews
June 11, 2009
Enjoyed this book quite well. How is it that I've been picking books that all seem to have a common thread of being grateful for what we have and looking at the positives in life?
Profile Image for Mairzi.
762 reviews
July 28, 2017
It just never seemed to get started and I felt no connection with any of the characters.
Profile Image for Karen.
2 reviews
March 21, 2020
Very disappointing. I was so happy to find a Susan Isaacs that I hadn't read. This book was just plain boring.
Profile Image for Armelle.
278 reviews
June 27, 2017
Smart, successful Amy Lincoln has made her way out of poverty, but as she nears 30, she realizes she's brought an awful lot of emotional baggage with her on her journey out of the housing projects of New York.

Finally realizing that she'll never get free of her past - and attain what she really wants: a loving family of her own - Amy goes looking for (dare I say it?) closure by seeking out the mother who abandoned her.

I liked it. The emotions and issues were real, but the tone was light enough that it wasn't a dark and miserable read.

I wasn't a super big fan of Tatty, but I was rooting for John (although I was a little surprised at his ready acceptance of her appearance at his apartment.)
Profile Image for Georgina Lacayo.
339 reviews46 followers
December 28, 2018
As I feel that now Young Adult isn't doing it for me anymore, I'm venturing into Adult Fiction, or Fiction in general. This book is a really good choice. I'm almost never wrong when I pick books. I almost always end up liking them all. This one was amazing. Amy Lincoln is a relatable character. Isaacs did a good job at writing a story about a woman who's reflecting over her life and finding gaps and bumps and just wanting to fix everything up. The story is emotional and dramatic, also beautiful in its simplicity.
Profile Image for Barbara.
605 reviews1 follower
May 4, 2021
A very fast read. Amy is a reporter, who has defied the odds. Her mother left her before she was a year old, her father was in and out of prison, and the grandmother who raised her was not the greatest role model. She is in a relationship, but it's not really going anywhere. She decides she needs to find her mother to see if she's likely to repeat the mistakes her mother made. It's a good story, the characters are well written. Nature or nurture? That's the question of this story, and it's told well.
147 reviews
December 27, 2020
Great story with a great main character searching for her mother who left her when she was 10 months old. She deals with a father who spends most of his life in and out of prisons, a rocky romance, covering a news story about a sleazy Senator running for president. This is not the type of book I usually like but it is a page turner. Author's character, Amy, ruminates in a delightful way on important personal and issues of the day . Good read!
Profile Image for Kelly.
268 reviews
February 12, 2021
I enjoyed some parts of this story about a girl confronting her abandonment, but I think it tied together a little to neatly for it to be believable. There's just too many emotions that surround abandonment and I'm not sure this book captured it in a way that was gripping for the reader. I also found some of the parts surrounding her job tedious to read and couldn't really see how it tied in to the story, other than her meeting with the political candidate's son.
Profile Image for Teri.
59 reviews
November 2, 2020
Was disappointed in the overall portrayal of the main character. Felt there was too much narrative of Amy berating herself. So much of Amy's self deprecation could have been eliminated and nothing would have been lost in the entire story line. Found myself skipping over paragraphs at a time because the narrative really didn't do anything to enhance the story.
610 reviews2 followers
May 18, 2021
Snappily written (as always) story about 28 year old Amy, raised by an impaired grandmother and an often imprisoned father. She gets herself a scholarship to a fancy boarding school, then Harvard, then Columbia. Now she writes for a prestigious magazine and realizes she needs to find out who her mother is and why she left her. Not mushy- brisk.
Profile Image for Mary-Ellen.
37 reviews4 followers
October 13, 2017
I rarely cry reading, but this one got a tear or two out of me. The theme of abandonment and longing to belong are poignant- and made more so by where I am in life's journey.

Already a fan of Susan Issac's Shining Through, I am planning on adding her novels to my reading list
1,542 reviews3 followers
March 30, 2018
Amy Lincoln is a young political reporter in NYC, covering the democrats leading up to the 2004 Presidential election. This first person narration is generally compelling, often amusing, and sometimes touching only occasionally bogging down in the topical or veering too close to the maudlin.
Profile Image for Hollie.
108 reviews4 followers
May 7, 2018
What started out as a 3.5 turned into a 4 for me by the time it was over. I do not like to give up on books and I am glad I stuck it out with this one. It was a bit of a struggle for me for a little while.
Profile Image for Kathy.
98 reviews1 follower
February 17, 2020
maybe it was bad timing to read this right after The Glass Castle, a true story or horrific child neglect, but this tale of an abandoned child growing up to be an uber-intellectual snarky woman just fell flat.
Profile Image for Debbie.
56 reviews1 follower
June 24, 2021
Proceed With Caution

This book is a great example of how to fill out an extremely thin plot with extra, unnecessary information. The entire time I was reading I kept asking myself if I was done yet.
Profile Image for Laura.
765 reviews56 followers
August 21, 2017
This was a light, fun, summer read for me. I enjoyed it, and it didn't require a lot of effort, which is sometimes exactly what you need.
851 reviews
January 5, 2019
Fluffy read; good for vacation. Main character has very tough childhood, finds it difficult to commit as an adult. Nevertheless, she finds true love. Ok – very fluffy.
Profile Image for Alicia.
124 reviews
March 7, 2019
Although I enjoyed Isaacs' somewhat snarky narration style, I felt that the book was a little too cliched, especially the ending.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 281 reviews

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