Mary Guterson's "We Are All Fine Here" is as wonderfully solid as a novel about fleeting moments can be. It has a heroine you can sympathize with, a situation full of sex, goofiness...

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Mary Guterson’s “We Are All Fine Here” is as wonderfully solid as a novel about fleeting moments can be. It has a heroine you can sympathize with, a situation full of sex, goofiness and pathos, and vividly spare writing that reads like real life.

This first effort by the sister of David Guterson (“Snow Falling on Cedars”) reads a bit like books in the chick-lit category (you know, that wry world inhabited by “The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing” or “Bridget Jones’s Diary”). Except in this case, the heroine Julia already has achieved the major goal of chick literature: finding a husband.


Julia’s problems are all post-chick-lit dilemmas. As a married woman, she’s just slept with an old boyfriend she never got over; she also just slept with her husband (who is flirting with his co-worker); she’s pushing 40 and pregnant and she wants to keep the baby.

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“We Are All Fine Here”


by Mary Guterson

Putnam, 192 pp., $18.95



Whose baby is it? Who knows, except that ultimately, it’s gotta be hers.


The philosophical conclusions Julia comes to at the end of the book are not earth-shattering. The strengths of this book are in the journey, as presented by its witty asides. Worried that she’ll look fat in her bridesmaid dress, Julia is assured by the bride: “The theme is cleavage, so you’ll be perfect.”

“We Are All Fine Here” was written clearly by a woman who pays attention to nuance. “Desperate Housewives,” eat your heart out.