EVERYTHING NICE

Ellen Shanman

 In a smart, sexy, wickedly funny new novel, the acclaimed author of Right Before Your Eyes introduces an unforgettable and irresistibly real heroine: Michaela”Mike” Edwards, a woman who is forced to reinvent herself— and discovers that the biggest risk is not taking one at all….

Fiercely independent and seriously lacking in social graces, Mike Edwards doesn’t do sugar and spice. Instead she writes great copy and stays above the fray—until mishandled office politics get her unexpectedly fired. Suddenly the young ad hotshot finds herself doing the unimaginable: moving back in with her widowed father,

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 In a smart, sexy, wickedly funny new novel, the acclaimed author of Right Before Your Eyes introduces an unforgettable and irresistibly real heroine: Michaela”Mike” Edwards, a woman who is forced to reinvent herself— and discovers that the biggest risk is not taking one at all….

Fiercely independent and seriously lacking in social graces, Mike Edwards doesn’t do sugar and spice. Instead she writes great copy and stays above the fray—until mishandled office politics get her unexpectedly fired. Suddenly the young ad hotshot finds herself doing the unimaginable: moving back in with her widowed father, hiding from her lecherous mentor, rethinking her entire career—and trying to unravel complex feelings for her best guy pal, an Aussie journalist named Gunther.

For Mike, a few wrenching twists of fate are leading to a job she never expected: teaching “life skills” to seventh-grade girls. But sometimes the best makeovers are the ones you never see coming. Because with a classroom full of kids who need her, a best friend who’s fast becoming something more, and a family she’s only just discovering, Mike has a few surprises in store…and she’s about to discover that going places in life doesn’t have to mean going it on your own.

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  • Bantam Discovery
  • Paperback
  • July 2008
  • 320 Pages
  • 9780385340533

Buy the Book

$12.00

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About Ellen Shanman

 Ellen Shanman is a graduate of Northwestern University. She lives and writes in Brooklyn, New York.

Praise

“A chick lit heroine with beauty and brains—and a bad-ass attitude that lands her in trouble…. Everything Nice is a gem of razor-sharp wit and impeccable timing.”—Publishers Weekly

Discussion Questions

What does Mike demonstrate about strong women? Do you think an interest in fashion and grooming makes a woman less strong? Or does female strength mean something else entirely?

What healthy traits did Gerry encourage in his daughter? What lessons could only a mother provide? What role models does she eventually have for learning about womanhood?

Would Mike’s headstrong style have been acceptable in a male employee, or in a boyfriend? Was she subjected to a double standard, or does society expect men to also avoid being too blunt or too assertive?

How did your opinion of Jay and his comedy routine shift throughout the novel? Did you sympathize with him?

Why does Cheryl take an interest in Mike, challenging her to try yoga and encouraging her to follow the example of runway models? Would you rather have had Cheryl or Gunther as a best friend?

What is the effect of the chapter titles, echoing famous slogans? What draws Mike to the advertising world? Why was it easy for her to sell products but difficult to sell herself?

What do Mike’s students tell us about parenting in the twenty-first century? What is reflected in their varied households, their need for permission slips to prevent lawsuits, and their beliefs about the adult world? How is being a child today different from when you were growing up?

Mike is shocked by a course that teaches girls how to crochet and make granola. What is the best way to really empower girls? What did you think of Mike’s curriculum? What life skills would you have added to the list? Are certain skills more important for girls than for boys, and vice versa?

What is Brian’s role in Mike’s life? What is the essential problem in his relationship with Mike? What do you predict for the future of Brian’s marriage?

What traits do Grace and Mike share? Was Grace correct in her assessment of Mike’s skills as a teacher? Is there much difference between the skills required to be a teacher and the skills required for marketing?

How does Deja change Mike’s life? What does she bring out in Gerry that Mike had not noticed before? What is it like for Mike to watch sisters Kimmy and Kristen become part of her family?

How was Mike affected by finally visiting Caroline’s grave? What missing piece of her life, and her sense of self, was completed in that moment?

In the closing scene, Gunther says, “I guess you can only give a guy the flick so many times.” What kept Mike and Gunther from becoming more than friends sooner?

What hallmarks of Ellen Shanman’s storytelling appear in both this novel and in Right Before Your Eyes? What would Liza Weiler and Mike Edwards think of each other?