Picks and Pans Review: The Booster

updated 04/17/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/17/2006 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Jennifer Solow


Jillian Siegel steals—and former advertising exec Solow steals the show with this energetic debut about longing for material and immaterial things. When Jillian's uncle owned a famed Manhattan department store, life was grand. But her family of "shopping and eating Jews" lost the store in a takeover. Now Jillian's lost her job and her boyfriend, while her beloved uncle has Parkinson's disease, so she begins self-medicating—not with drugs but with theft. Eventually Jillian joins a sophisticated shoplifting ring and her booty escalates from lip balm to a $1,570 "peasant blouse." Solow's achievement lies in her subtle portrayal of Jillian's motivation for stealing, and in demonstrating how all the pretty objects in the world will never fill the emotional hole at her core.

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