Weiner has put together 11 stories for this uneven anthology. With four exceptions, most of these stories fall flat. Fans of Weiner will feel as if they're reading a collection of creative writing assignments, since some of these tales were written when she was still in college. But readers will see a noticeable improvement with the more current ones.

The exceptional stories in this collection are: "Oranges From Florida," in which newly single Doug helps out a young boy; "The Guy Not Taken," where Marlie stumbles upon her ex-boyfriend's wedding registry; "Buyer's Market," with Jess trying to help her struggling real estate agent boyfriend by listing her apartment; and "The Mother's Hour," where two very different moms meet at a children's playgroup.

The remaining seven tales include three -- "Just Desserts," "Travels With Nicki" and "The Wedding Bed" -- about two sisters trying to find themselves after their parents divorce; "Swim," with ex-sitcom writer Ruth now working as a consultant; and "Good Men," about a man who sneaks into his girlfriend's place to kidnap her annoying dog but ends up proposing instead. (ATRIA , Sep., 272 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Lori Waddington