(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Oct. 22, 2002)
A tough and funny project girl manages to make that chill wind blow awayThe good life, according to Aisha Ingram, is easy. It's hanging with friends, dancing, listening to music, whatever . . . but it doesn't include worrying about the future. Chilling out is her mantra until she receives a sixty-day termination-of-welfare-benefits notice. Without her monthly food stamps and assistance checks and with no help from the father of her two children, Aisha's life threatens to become a little too "chilly." The clock is ticking and she doesn't have many options, but one thing she knows for sure: workfare is not for her. There's no way she's going to scrub subway cars or sweep city sidewalks. Aisha tries to come up with other ways to get money, but things don't look good. Soon another notice comes: only thirty days left. Then she sees an ad on TV for BIGMODELS, and she figures she might as well check out the agency. After all, she is pretty enough. But just when it looks like Aisha's problems might be solved, things grow crazy again. In Aisha, Janet McDonald has created a larger-than-life heroine who finds and succeeds at what is right for her.