Mostly-funny short stories about a young woman's life.
Rowena has a mother:
“This is my life, Mom. Not a Jane Austen novel. Not—”
“Listen to me, Miss Independence. He’s a nice young man, but men expect things. Even nice ones, sometimes. He’s going to think that you’re inviting him to do . . . married people things.” Rowena tried to interrupt, but when she opened her mouth nothing came out. “And when he’s there being forceful and everything, don’t come crying to me.” Rowena tried taking a deep breath and sitting up very straight. “And, anyway,” her mother said, “Jane who?”
Rowena has a sister:
“Maralynne. Let me explain something to you. Sammy is not a saint and he is not a celebrity and he hasn’t discovered a cure for cancer. Got that? He does happen to be your sister’s boyfriend, but what that means is you should be leaving him alone because a) he’s not available, and b) attempting to steal things from your sister is mean, even when you don’t succeed.”
“Don’t suc—” Maralynne stopped abruptly, then tried a different tack. “Who said anything about stealing?”
Rowena has a job:
Marjorie grinned at her. “He stole your report so you’d have to go talk to him,” she said. Rowena groaned.
“And you let him?”
Marjorie shifted her gum. “This is fun,” she said. “The soaps just aren’t the same when you have to watch ‘em at night.”
Rowena has some friends:
Rowena raised her cup. “Here’s to the teddies,” she said. “Here’s to Aunt Irene’s duplicate coffee machines and Uncle Milo’s computer-printout Christmas letters.”
Terese raised what was left of her cappuccino. “Here’s to the yellow parakeet Dad bought Mom thinking it was a canary,” she said. “Here’s to the kids who play with the boxes instead of the presents.”
“Here’s to the stale popcorn they eat off the string,” said Rowena. Suddenly a hand appeared in front of her, holding a glass one-third full of orange juice. “To the meaning of Christmas,” said a voice. “And to Santas who never fill your stocking with coal no matter what you’ve done.”
Rowena has a . . . life.