Nancy Bachrach is living in Paris, selling deodorant to the French, when a freak accident kills her father aboard his cabin cruiser, the aptly dubbed Mr. Fix It , in her incongruously named hometown of Providence. Her mother, Lola, the self-proclaimed "center of the universe," whose medical history reads like the chapter headings of a psychiatric manual, lies in a coma "on death's waiting list." Nancy rushes home and sits by her mother's ventilator--thinking about Sunny von Bülow and eyeing the plug. Thus begins a family reunion with her brother, Ben (a piano prodigy and eventual surgeon who was born with three thumbs), and sister, Helen (the wild child, now an "abnormal psychologist").
This is a dark, hilarious tale of genius, madness, ineptitude, collateral damage, and hope--with an ending that's improbable, as only the truth can be. Aching and tender, unflinching and wry, The Center of the Universe is a multi generational mother-daughter story--a splendid, funny, lyrical book about family, truth, memory, and the resilience of love.