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Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe
"Like a Northwest Fannie Flagg, Jennie Shortridge gives us a wry and funny portrait of Mrs. Perfect, Mira Serafino. We all know where perfection can lead and in Love & Biology at the Center of the Universe, life becomes anything but Family Freaking Circle."
—Diana Loevy, author of The Book Club Companion

Read the full review—and more praise—here.



Written with keen insight and wit, Jennie Shortridge's fiction is "rich, funny, sad, sensual, and hopeful." Now comes a bittersweet novel that asks: how does a good girl know when to finally let herself be bad?

Mira Serafino can see the headlines now: Girl-Scout-Leading, Homeless-Feeding Science Teacher of the Year Goes on Wild Rampage of Sex, Drinking, and Drugs. Well, let her small town of Pacifica, Oregon, think what it will. Forty-five-year-old Mira, the obedient daughter, the supermom, the loyal wife, has left the building…

When she learns that her college-sweetheart husband has been seeing another woman, Mira's perfect world is shattered and she wants no one, least of all her big Italian family, to know. She heads north—with no destination and little money—stopping only when her car breaks down in Seattle. She takes a job at the offbeat Coffee Shop at the Center of the Universe, where she'll experience a scary but invigorating freedom, and meet someone she'll come to love: the new Mira…

NAL/Penguin trade paperback, May 2008, ISBN: 978-0451223883



More!

Author's notes
Prologue and Chapter 1
Reading Group Guide
Blog tour
BUY THE BOOK from Amazon or Barnes and Noble
Request Jennie sign your ebook of Love and Biology

 

Reviews

Love and Biology at the center of the universe Check out READER REVIEWS!

#1 on the Denver Post paperback list!

"We all know there's no shortage of literary talent in the Northwest... Seattle novelist Jennie Shortridge invokes the spirit of the Fremont District with a charming new novel about a mid-40s woman named Mira who flees her previous life (in a small Oregon town) when she is betrayed by her husband... When she flees northward... she finds employment at the Coffee Shop at the Center of the Universe. There she discovers a lot of colorful characters—as well as a better understanding of her past, and some new possibilities for her future. Shortridge has a lot of fun with the Fremont setting: 'an urban mass of odd public art, old hippies, new hipsters, old fishing outfits on the canal, new dot-coms in refurbished old buildings.'"
—The Seattle Times

"An award-winning high school science teacher who juggles marriage, motherhood and massive traditional Italian meals, Mira Serafino is called Miss Control Freak by her best friend Lannie, an eccentric musician who owns a yarn and guitar shop in their close-knit community of Pacifica, Ore. Shortridge (Eating Heaven) flashes back to Mira's difficult childhood (where she adopted the role of "Saint Mira, absorber of all family pain") as her marriage hits a major snag, sending Mira into a process of self-examination. Mira's Type A—ness comes through clearly, and secondaries—including a difficult daughter, incommunicado brother and a father who is "about as sensitive as a Mack truck"—deepen her dilemmas."
—Publishers Weekly

"Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe is a fun and unpredictable novel. Jennie Shortridge is full of insight about life, which she weaves seamlessly into the pages of a story that most women can relate to. This is a work of fiction that surpasses the standards of most of the books you'll find on the shelves. It's comprised of memories from Mira's childhood, flashes of her daughter's life and an up-close-and-personal view of the new life Mira has forged for herself."
—Amie Taylor, BookReporter.com

"It's emotional, thought-provoking, saddening, and uplifting. Jennie Shortridge really gets to the heart of what causes a marriage to go bad, even when the two people involved aren't bad people. All of the characters are trying to find their way and all feeling really lonely as if they have nobody to lean on. Funny thing is, if they'd just open up their eyes a little wider, they'd realize they are SO not alone!
What really touched me about Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe is that the main character, Mira, is far from perfect but spends a lifetime trying to repress who she really is. I am positive we all know someone, could be that someone, that is living like this."
—Book Club Queen (read the full review here)

"Midlife crises are a bitch. Jennie Shortridge's book Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe makes that very clear. Set in the fictional town of Pacifica, Ore., Mira Serafino finds out her husband, whom she's dated since high school, is two-timing. Instead of melting into a puddle of menopause and hot flashes, Serafino, a high-strung perfectionist, leaves her world behind and heads northward to Seattle, where she tries to bring out the bad girl that has been hibernating within."
—Willamette Week, Portland, OR

"...a realistic portrait of a middle-aged woman remembering who she was and who she wants to be. Mira has enough flaws to make her believable, and she changes enough that you are proud of her by the novel's end. Shortridge speaks to issues that are particularly poignant for women: exploring one's sexuality without the stigma of promiscuity, maintaining your sense of self while being a mother and a wife, and towing the line between what you desire and what is expected."
—IslandsWeekly.net

"An honest and endearing look into the imperfect life of wife and mother Mira Serafino, a middle-aged woman of unpredictable hormones and a heart as warm and rich as the espresso shots she delivers to her coffeehouse customers. Bruised but not beaten, the indomitable Mira escapes her not-so-perfect life in search of a new beginning and instead rediscovers the woman she was always meant to be. The true-to-life characters, rain-saturated Seattle setting, and flawless storytelling make this a book to remember."
—Karen White, author of The Memory of Water

"Smart, funny and endearing, Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe is also deceptively wise. When Mira's world explodes in every possible direction, she embarks on a desperate search for what is real and what is simply a mirage, ultimately discovering that the Center of the Universe is not a place, but a state of mind. Deeply drawn characters with their seams and raw edges exposed, clever dialogue, and a snappy pace makes this one terrific read!"
—Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

"A moving look at the wrong-headed ways we're taught to love and the redemptive power of wising up and getting it right."
—Carolyn Jourdan, author of Heart in the Right Place

"Like a Northwest Fannie Flagg, Jennie Shortridge gives us a wry and funny portrait of Mrs. Perfect, Mira Serafino. We all know where perfection can lead and in Love & Biology at the Center of the Universe, life becomes anything but Family Freaking Circle. Steam a tall batch of half-caf mocha lattes for the club, throw on your slutty elf shoes and discuss this delicious, sexy adventure of a mother at mid-life."
—Diana Loevy, author of The Book Club Companion

"For the upcoming summer reading season, a perfect choice comes in the form of Jennie Shortridge's third novel, Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe. Here, Shortridge creates a warm-hearted story, reminding the reader that it's never too late to rediscover yourself...Jennie Shortridge has created a heartfelt book full of discovery, masterfully weaving together layers of detail, bringing the Pacific Northwest to brilliant life."
—Rebecca Thomas, The Electric Review

"Shortridge has a good ear for dialogue and women's friendships."
—Christine Jacques, Rocky Mountain News

"Shortridge has tapped into what may be everybody's fantasy at some point or other: if you weren't saddled with the consequences of the decisions you've made over the years, who would you be now?"
— Barbara Lloyd McMichael, Kitsap Sun

"...[O]nce she lands in the Fremont neighborhood in Seattle... the buttoned-up perfectionist begins to unwind; she wears tighter jeans, becomes interested in sex, learns to relate to her younger co-workers and combs the past in a series of flashbacks...But the pleasure of witnessing her softening on decades of propriety helps drive the narrative."
—The Oregonian
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