three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
14-Jan-Feb-2005
By: 
Susan Isaacs
user_rating: 
0

A-AnyPlaceHangAmy Lincoln’s mother bailed on her when she was an infant. Her father left a few months later to serve the first of his many prison terms. Raised in the projects by her Grandma Lil, a leg waxer who shoplifts steaks and watches the show Falcon Crest, Amy works hard to earn a boarding school scholarship and make her mark in the world. She attends Harvard and Columbia, and lands a job as a writer for In Depth, a prestigious political magazine in New York City. A chance encounter with a college student who claims to be the illegitimate son of a Democratic presidential candidate, as well as a failed relationship, inspire Amy to investigate her own past to find the answers to some very personal questions.
Scribner. 400 pages. $26. ISBN: 0743242157

Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars
"Any Place I Hang My Hat testifies to the importance of family in an uncertain, sometimes terrifying world. Refreshingly, the novel expands its understanding of family to include those bound together by affinity as well as blood." Maureen Corrigan

Denver Post 3.5 of 5 Stars
"[Isaacs] crafts a thoughtful exploration of the concept of abandonment and the awesome childhood fears that seem to linger long into adulthood in so many women. Touching without ever being maudlin, the story walks to the brink of being a cliché, then takes a deft turn just in time." Diane Carman

Seattle Times 3.5 of 5 Stars
"[Amy is] one of her finest pieces of work—a complicated and conflicted young woman ..." Melinda Bargreen

Orlando Sentinel 3 of 5 Stars
"Amy is the novel’s greatest asset—she’s smart, with a dry wit lacking in so many twentysomethings of the MTV-fueled mainstream. … However, Isaacs fails to fully pursue the interesting situation she sets up. Amy’s on-and-off relationship with John never quite reaches the level Isaacs intends." Rebecca Swain Vadnie

Akron Beacon Journal 2 of 5 Stars
"There are a few things in Susan Isaacs’s 10th novel, Any Place I Hang My Hat, that will probably annoy even her devoted readers. … [A]lthough Isaacs cloaks Amy in Manhattan sophistication and a wry sense of humor, she’s not much more emotionally complex than a heroine in a dime-store romance novel." Mary Ethridge

Critical Summary

Isaacs first started writing books in the mid-1970s. Three decades later, she’s published her 10th novel, Any Place I Hang My Hat, a Cinderella story with a TV-movie-of-the-week feel. Isaacs’s heroine, Amy Lincoln, suffers from abandonment and trust issues. She’s worked her way out of poverty and up the journalistic ladder, but she can’t quite get past the yearning to locate her long-lost mother and maternal grandparents. Most critics feel Isaacs has penned a heart-warming, if overly predictable, tale of self-realization and empowerment, but a few declared the journey to be more productive than the end result.