Summary and book reviews of Step-Ball-Change by Jeanne Ray

Step-Ball-Change

By Jeanne Ray

Step-Ball-Change
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  • Hardcover: May 2002,
    240 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2003,
    240 pages.

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About this Book

Book Summary

With a ringing phone, Jeanne Ray's charming and amusing new novel gets off to a rollicking start that never lets up. Not for a minute. On the other end of the phone is Caroline's daughter, Kay, a public defender like her father, sobbing at the improbably good news that the richest, most eligible boy in Raleigh, North Carolina, has asked her to marry him. While Caroline and Tom are trying to digest this, the other phone, the "children's line," rings; it is Caroline's sister, Taffy, hysterical over her husband's decision to leave her for a woman two years younger than her daughter.

Soon Taffy is wending her way up from Atlanta to seek solace in her sister's home, even though the two have been separated by more than just geography for the past forty years. With her is her little dog, Stamp, who has a penchant for biting ankles and stealing hearts. Tom and Caroline quickly realize that the wedding their future son-in-law's family is envisioning for nine-hundred-plus guests is to be their fiscal responsibility. To top it all off, the foundation of their home is in danger of collapsing and their contractor and his crew have all but moved in. It's a thundering whirlwind of emotion that finally boils down to: Who is in love with whom? and Who's going to get the next dance?

Wise, funny, and impossible to put down, Step-Ball-Change is peopled with characters you feel you have known your whole life. It's the kind of book that you can't bear to see end.

Chapter one

It all started on Tuesday night. Tom and I were having dinner when the phone rang.

Let me stop here for a minute. I want to revel in that sentence. Tom and I were having dinner. It almost sounds like this was something that happened regularly. In fact, my husband, who is a public defender, had made a career of eating peanut-butter-cheese crackers from the vending machine in the Raleigh courthouse while he went over the testimony of guys named Spit one more time. I had been teaching adult tap classes in the evenings to young women who didn't have a date after work and were trying to improve themselves. That was not to say I was never home or Tom was never home, but it was hard to make it home simultaneously, and it was nearly impossible to be home alone. Our two oldest sons, Henry and Charlie, were married and gone, but George, our youngest, was still down the hall while he went to law school. Kay, our daughter, found her way over most nights to review cases with her...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

Ray fashions another mild-tempered, predictable, yet nonetheless amusing romantic comedy about a sexagenarian narrator and her love-vexed grown kids.... A by-the-numbers family drama that won't fail to please softy readers.

Booklist - Danise Hoover

In a novel as comfortable and inviting as coffee at your best friend's kitchen table, Ray, author of Julie and Romeo (2000), introduces Caroline, a woman who has a life possibly too full of happiness and fulfillment to be normal. Appealing and entertaining, although unchallenging, this could be the perfect diversion.

Publishers Weekly

Although Ray allows the sap level to rise a little too high as the inevitable picture-perfect ending rolls around, she has a gift for lively dialogue that makes the characters snap into place.

Library Journal - Rebecca Kelm

Funny, believable, and full of surprises, this novel, like time with a good friend, is over far too soon. Strongly recommended for popular fiction collections.

Reader Reviews
DebbieinMaine

Step-Ball-Change
I enjoyed the audiobook read by the author. She has a nice reading voice and definitely added to the characters. It does have that "almost too clean ending" but leaves you feeling satisfied that you have listened to it.

Paula C.

Slice of Life
I loved this book. It's like "life"--funny, sad, ironic, and hopeful. I related to the main character's passion for dance, complicated family relationships, and mid-life concerns. I can't wait to pass it along to my best friend, so we can discuss it...   Read More

zonan

this book is really good. it tells me about american family. it tells me about the ways of the americam life.
jeanne ray is a 'powerful' writer..

Sarah Brown

I really enjoyed, Step-Ball-Change. It kept my attention the entire time, and though it wasn't an -edge-of-your-seat thriller, I couldn't put it down. While reading it during class, my friend noticed me and decided that she would read it as well. We...   Read More

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