A la Cart: The Secret Lives of Grocery Shoppers.
By Hillary Carlip.
Mar. 2008. 120p. illus. Virgin, $17.95 (9781905264179). 818.

First published March 15, 2008 (Booklist).

Carlip, the self-described “queen of the oddballs” (from the title of her acclaimed memoir), draws on her love of story, passion for performance and transformation, eye for found art, and gift for comedic and empathic improvisation in a unique portrait gallery. A populist Cindy Sherman, an American Tracey Ullman, a female Eddie Murphy, and a disciple of Lily Tomlin, Carlip used her quirky collection of discarded shopping lists as inspiration for 26 characters, assuming the identity of men and women shoppers of various ages, backgrounds, and preoccupations.

Carlip poses with great verve in brightly colored store aisles as Kim, a leathery biker momma grasping a bottle of Jack Daniels, her shopping list a tattered piece of red paper with “Jimmy Den” and “soda” crossed off and “Liqor” written assertively four times. Then there’s supermom June and her meticulously typed list for her Tourette’s-afflicted son’s birthday party; flannel-shirt-wearing, Fu Manchued Woody; tattooed punk pinup Heather; and lonely healthy-eater Fran. Each of Carlip’s ingeniously composed, funny, and insightful vignettes is a microcosm of struggle and hope. —Donna Seaman

YA/M: YAs will find Carlip’s amazing transformations, intriguing characters, and mix of irreverence and compassion hugely entertaining. DS.

À la Cart: The Secret Lives of grocery Shoppers -- a "hilarious, delightful, unique" book by Hillary Carlip
From Virgin Books, © 2008