Cover Image: Dream Girl

Dream Girl

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Member Reviews

Gerry has been in an accident and now requires the assistance of others in his daily life.  He has written several fiction novels, one titled Dream Girl.  Now he is getting phone call from a woman claiming to be Dream Girl.  Who is calling, could it be one of his ex wives?  There are plenty of twists in the book.  My main reason for the 3* is I never connected with Gerry, the main character.  Thank you to net galley for an advanced readers copy.
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Gerry Anderson has broken away from the woman he was dating and moved in to a strange looking house in a different city. He has been having trouble sleeping, which has been keeping him from his writing. He falls and hurts himself pretty badly and is on bed rest, so he has to depend on his assistant and home health aide. Then all of a sudden, he receives phone calls from a woman claiming to be the "real" Aubrey--the main character in his wildly successful book from years ago. But there is no real Aubrey, so who is making the phone calls? And why does the night home health aide never hear the landline phone ring? This book was crazy intense and had me questioning who was doing what and what was going to happen next. Really enjoyed it!
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I read Dream Girl in one day. This well plotted, infectious tale that weaves past and present like a medieval tapestry kept me on the edge of my seat. The story shifts from Baltimore to New York and back and resonates with the feel of Baltimore from the 1960s to 2020. Family dysfunction; an author with writers block; scenes that remind me of Hitchcock’s Rear Window; a series of ex-wives; murder; mystery; gaslighting; and wonderful literary references. 
A great appreciation to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this galley in exchange for an honest review. Laura Lippman knows how to craft twists and turns. This novel had me guessing until the satisfying last page.
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I  love Laura Lippman, and was super excited to get a copy of Dream Girl from William Morrow / Custom House and NetGalley in exchange for this honest review. It is compared to Stephen King’s Misery and Lippman herself has referred to it as her first horror novel. 

I’m a fan of psychological suspense/thrillers, but not a big fan of horror. Also, the protagonist is a man, and one I didn’t particularly care about or for. He is an author named Gerry Anderson who has had several novels published, with his biggest success being Dream Girl, the one that everyone has fun trying to figure out the identity of the inspiration for the protagonist. Gerry is seriously injured in a freak accident, and has to be totally cared for by his assistant in the daytime and a really dim-witted nurse at night. 

Gerry gets a phone call, ostensibly from the Dream Girl herself…who could it be? One of his ex-wives? (yes, plural) Lots of strange phone calls and letters, plot twists, and surprises. I have mixed feelings about it. Again, I love Ms. Lippman, but really didn’t care for Gerry Anderson. I’m being harsh and rounding down to three stars, although many people will LOVE it, as evidenced by many glowing reviews.
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Adult Lit. Written in a form of stream of consciousness. Gerry, author and professor of sorts, lives his current uneventful life (after three failed marriages and many failed relationships) feeling as if his past failings and current, dismal life are not of his own making. Although he is reliant on others for his most basic needs, he is distrustful of the most mundane conversations and fancies himself above everyone else. A visit from a woman of his past begins a chain of disturbing memories and events that could do worse than discredit him.
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I get super excited about books. Reading them, reviewing them, recommending them, you get the picture. I also get super excited about authors. Especially when I read a book by them, love it, and then realize they have two dozen more waiting for my sweet old eyes to devour.

I listened to Laura Lippman’s “After I’m Gone” when it came out in 2014. It was the first audio book I ever “read” and I instantly loved it.  It was the trifecta that we as book lovers are always seeking: interesting story that holds your attention, smooth, easy writing (in this case AMAZING narration) and believable characters you wish were real.

Since that story, I have read everything Laura Lippman has written. And she NEVER disappoints.


Like, EVER.

This story was no exception.

I will admit, I am not a huge fan of main characters who are male. Never have been.  And the fact that it was compared to Stephen King’s “Misery” actually gave me pause.  I like Stephen King, I just didn’t like that book.

So, I went into this book realistically thinking there was a chance I wouldn’t like it very much.

But friends, I am happy to report I was wrong.

Lippman writes in such a way that your brain needs a moment to catch up with what your eyes just read.  This affords the readers a lot of “wait…..omg, wait….what?” moments.

I love those moments.

Those moments where you have to lay the book down and just take a few breaths, maybe get up and walk around a bit and then settle back down.

This book centers around successful author Gerry Andersen who, after moving back to Baltimore from New York to help his ailing mother, finds himself bedridden after an accident at his townhome. (I’m sure you know where I am going with the “Misery” reference).

So, because my reviews do NOT include spoilers, all I can say is that Ambien is administered……. strange things begin happening……..all of the best Lippman twists show themselves…….and Lippman once again wows us. Effortlessly.

This story weaves between the present and the past -leading up to the present- which is my favorite kind of dual timeline. We get glimpses of Gerry becoming Gerry and the tribe that surrounded him through his life. In the present, he is surrounded by his assistant and a nurse, who are also very layered, complex women. When the twist hit, I didn’t even see it coming.

Not my favorite book of hers, but still a very solid, good read.  Would I have liked it more if the main character was female? Probably. Overall, I didn’t care for his over-sexed behavior or his philandering ways. I simply couldn’t relate to that behavior. But, Lippman was honest when she wrote this flawed character. He was certainly NOT a choir boy.

I also LOVE the fact that Tess Monaghan, the main character in Lippman’s ongoing Baltimore based series, has a cameo in this book. LOVED seeing her! (And if you haven't read that series yet, gooooooooo. Start with 2009's "Baltimore Blues")

I would definitely recommend this to family and friends, and all who love a good twisty ride through Baltimore.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

Meh. Got to 40% of the audiobook and ended up requesting the digital book so I could skim and find out what happened.

Some books don’t read as well as an audiobook and I think Dream Girl is one of them as it skips all over the place chronologically and hard to keep track.

Gerry is a successful author living in Baltimore. After an accident, he is housebound with only his personal assistant with him during the day and a mediocre nurse at night. He keeps getting calls from someone saying they are from his past. Is it real or not?

I kept thinking of Stephen King’s Misery while reading Dream Girl. Silly plot with a silly ending.
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A bestselling novelist confined to bedrest in his penthouse after an accident begins to receive phone calls from a woman claiming to be his most famous character. Attended only by his assistant and a night nurse, Gerry feels increasingly isolated and worried about his sanity and safety. He even tries to hire a private investigator - a brief cameo by Laura Lippman's series character Tess Monaghan, who quite frankly blew it by passing on what turned out to be a doozy of a case.

Gerry embodies older white male privilege. He acknowledges that he's a bit of a dinosaur, but his self awareness doesn't extend to grasping who amongst his three ex-wives and sundry other women might hold a grudge. Despite his pledge not to be like his philandering father, there are many candidates, revealed through flashbacks. I did guess the involvement of one person early on, but an unexpected twist led to a surprising and kind of crazy ending.

An enjoyable thriller with shades of Misery and Zuckerman Unbound. Recommended for those who enjoy literary references and who don't mind an "unlikable" protagonist.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the review copy.
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Acclaimed author Gerry Anderson is bedridden, recovering from a fall.  Hi assistant, Victoria, cares for him during the day and at night, the taciturn Aileen is there.  Gerry has a lot of time to reflect on his life, his three ex-wives, his famous book DREAM GIRL.  But when a woman starts calling and claiming to be the main character of DREAM GIRL, things get weird.  Lippman takes us on a wild ride with her usual great writing and engaging characters, but this novel is very different from her other books.  Lippman says this her first "horror" novel, and I agree!
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Laura Lippman’s latest delves into the life of Gerry, who is bed-ridden and recovering from an injury, relying on the help of an assistant and a caretaker. When strange things begin to happen, Gerry questions his own sanity.

This book is unlike any of Lippman’s others. It has a male narrator and the story alternates between present time and multiple past times. I did not particularly care for this, as I found it to be confusing at times and I had difficulty keeping track of what was going on. I felt like the book was more of a character study of Gerry than a suspense. I did not like Gerry or any of the other characters so it was hard to become too invested in the outcome of this. Overall, this one was just so-so for me.
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Gerry is a prize-winning author who has moved to Baltimore to care for his dying mother.  After her death, he is living in a new apartment, and takes a fall that leaves him incapacitated and requires him to hire home care people.  He is not sure if it’s his medication, but he begins to receive various communications from a woman claiming to be the fictional main character of his most popular book.  He is also visited by his last romantic entanglement who proceeds to threaten him.  Is his night nurse a help or a danger? That is the question!
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I am a fan of Laura Lippmann’s novels and was excited to have an opportunity to read ‘Dream Girl’ courtesy of NetGallery and the publisher, William Morrow in exchange for an honest review.

This is going to be a short review as I quickly discovered my excitement was misplaced. I disliked the book. 

A wealthy, successful novelist finds himself bedridden after a nasty fall in his spectacular high-rise penthouse in Baltimore. He is completely dependent on two women he barely knows: his incurious young assistant, and a dull, slow-witted nurse. To make matters worse, he is being stalked by a woman who claims to be the inspiration for his bestselling novel. Okay, so far so good.  But....

It is impossible to be sympathetic or even care about Lippman’s primary character - novelist Gerry Andersen. He is crass, despicable, cruel, sexist and etc. The other primary characters - the nurse and assistant are equally so. Compounding the problem is that Lippman tells the story non-linearly, and in such a way that it's nearly impossible to know who is doing what to whom and when. It just didn’t work for me.

The book has garnered good reviews and it's probably just me. I just believe that Laura Lippman has written much better books than this.
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I guess the #MeToo reckoning has now caught up to the literary publication cycle. In fact, this was the 2nd book I read this week in which a college professor who teaches writing is held up as being "slightly" rape-y? Love those shades of gray I guess. By the last third of this book I was just DONE and TIRED of the narrator's inner monologue recounting all these past sexual conquests. And his knee-jerk "Can I even say that?" internal dialogue responses to his damn self when broaching any topic related to identity politics or gendered norms or sexual stratification. The book is fine enough. But there's my review of it, for better or worse.
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With shades of "Misery" and "Rear Window", this novel wasn't quite what I expected from the description.  I expected more of a thriller as novelist Gerry Anderson is stalked by phone calls claiming to be from his most famous character.  That mystery is solved mid-way through the books and it gets bogged down for a bit.  But there is an interesting twist at the end that is worth continuing through the rest of the novel..  Intriguing, but not outstanding.
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Laura Lippman’s classifies her latest novel Dream Girl, as horror and credits her favorite authors as inspiration. This story will immediately have Stephen King fans recalling Misery. In the # MeToo era, we are presented with a popular author, Gerry Anderson, severely injured, helpless in his apartment and dependent on two young women for his care. I could see where the story was going from the beginning, so 3 stars. The ending almost redeemed the novel for me, but I’m sure will irritate other readers. I just could not buy Gerry’s stupidity, even with the explanation that he was being drugged.
Recommended for all of Lippman’s many fans,
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Dream Girl by Laura Lippman is quite a twisted tale that will keep you reading and wondering what will come next and then when it does you say, "Wow! I didn't see that coming."  It is a mind-bending mystery with softly hidden clues .
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Dream Girl by Laura Lippman seems like a real departure from her previous books that I have read (Lady in the Lake, for example). The protagonist is not at all likable and very self-indulgent not to mention totally unreliable with added help from Ambien and oxycodone. The timeline that jumps all over the place I found to be disconcerting.

Gerry Andersen is a novelist who wrote the best seller Dream Girl, about which he says is not modeled on any one person. He is in both a writing slump and a physical slump having fallen down the stairs of his new digs. He has just come off his third divorce and the death of his mother, whose illness caused him to move from New York to Baltimore so he could take care of her. Worse, he has a crazy ex-girlfriend who isn’t yet ready to give up on his supporting her as he did in New York. He thought he got rid of her when he sold his property there, but she is on his trail. 

When he starts receiving strange phone calls and visits in the middle of the night from a woman claiming to be the “dream girl,” he is wondering if he is falling into dementia like his mother or if the drugs are now in control of his world. His life has become a nightmare, and he does not know if it is the sleep-time variety or real. 
Laura Lippman is an Edgar Award-winning novelist. She has written 21 novels, a novella, a children’s book, and a collection of short stories. She lives with her family in Baltimore. 

My review will be posted on Goodreads starting April 6, 2021.

I would like to thank William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, and Custom House for providing me with an ARC in return for an objective review.
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Laura Lippman has outdone herself with this twisty thriller.  II would recommend every lover of a good psychological noir, to run and pre-order this book.  The writing is tight, the characters interesting and multi-dimensional and the plot riveting.  
Gerry Anderson is a successful, but not stratospherically so, author.  He has had several well received novels, but none so much as "Dream Girl" which even still draws queries on whom the protagonist is based.  When Gerry is catastrophically injured in a freak accident he is utterly and totally dependent on  his assistant, Victoria, and his dull-witted night nurse.  Numerous flashbacks provide a counterpoint to Gerry's grandiose opinion of himself and the addition of strange, anonymous phone calls and letters, which cause Gerry to question his sanity add another layer to the suspense.
Again, I highly recommend that all readers who enjoy a good psychological thriller, put this book on their "must read" spring book list.
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The first chapter is so unique and intriguing. This is a strange book but sometimes  it pays to go outside of your comfort zone. Don’t read a lot of mysteries, especially ones where the main character is male.  It keeps on getting creepier and creepier the more you get into it. Didn’t know who was bad, if things were real or imagined. Lots of little messages and life lessons throughout. Should be required reading for every male out there who thinks their words and actions are no big deal.
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Although I’m a big fan of Laura Lippman, I didn’t enjoy Dream Girl as much as other titles by her. I do like  that the setting takes place in Baltimore. The storyline seemed confusing and bizarre at times. Not what I was all.
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