Cover image for Altar ego
Altar ego
Lette, Kathy, 1958-
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, 1999.

Physical Description:
ix, 353 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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Altar Ego burned up bestseller lists in Britain & Australia--now American readers have a chance to fall in love with Kathy Lette's larger-than-life characters. Becky Steele is a self-proclaimed "new feminist" & holder of the Girls' Night Out record for the shortest amount of time between meeting someone & shagging him (nine minutes). But she has a query. Would it be a serious breach of etiquette to run out on her own wedding? Yes, the man in question is the right one. But has she had enough wrong ones? To make sure, she embarks on a jock-strap-twanging affair with a much younger rock star. (If only she didn't have to back out of the room so he can't see the backs of her thighs...) Sex, lies, & relationship angst play out to hilarious consequences in this absolutely fabulous novel.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Lette, author of the international best-sellers Foetal Attraction and Mad Cows, brings her bawdy wit and uninhibited writing style to this tale of love, life, and relationships in 1990s Britain. When thirty-something Becky Steele, holder of the girls'-night-out "record for the shortest amount of time between meeting someone and shagging them," ducks out on her wedding and embarks on a tempestuous affair with a much younger American rock star, she is sure that she has made the right decision. Things aren't always as good as they seem on the surface, though, and after a few months on the road with her new lover and his hard-living, hard-drinking, hardly bathing, drug-taking entourage, her safe, stodgy relationship with ex-fianceJeff is starting to look pretty good. Unfortunately, by the time Becky realizes her mistake, Jeff has taken up with Becky's best friend, a former man-hating, militant feminist. This funny, sarcastic take on contemporary life and female commitment-phobia will appeal to a variety of readers. --Kathleen Hughes

Publisher's Weekly Review

From the iconoclastic Lette, here's another "single girl" book to join the current trend, a self-consciously sassy English novel about a 32-year-old woman torn between boring Mr. Right and the absolute freedom of shagging anyone she wants. In her fifth novel (after Mad Cows and Foetal Attraction), Lette's heroine Becky Steele makes the protagonists of Laura Zigman, Helen Fielding and Suzanne Finnamore look like veritable prudes, as she blazes new trails in satisfying her desires. Assisted (and thwarted) by two superficial and bitchy girlfriends, Becky tries to stanch her fear of marrying perfect, prosaic lawyer Julian, by falling for Zachary Phoenix Burne, a "black boy-toy with the gi-normous cream stick." Rock star Zack is an unconvincing character, blatantly stupid as he utters lines like: "See, that's one of the reasons I like yer, 'Cause you know all them big words." Conversely, Becky and her wise-cracking, man-hating "feminist" girlfriend Kate (who, of course, eventually turns into a hubby-stealing vamp) get all the hackneyed one-liners: "The medical term for a woman paralyzed from the waist down and the neck up is `marriage'"; "If marriage was a horse, no self-respecting gambler would take a punt on it." The book blithely careens from male-strip club to beauty spa, from bedroom to divorce court, with friends, sisters, boyfriends and husbands comically, if absurdly, loving, leaving and betraying each other, compulsively churning out biting jokes and raunchiness passing for candor. Readers may feel ambivalent about Becky and her circle of chameleon friends turning their wedding rings into circus ringsÄthe comedy is less a lusty, irreverent romp than a collection of one-note jokes encapsulated perfectly by such tepid chapter titles as "Cross My Legs and Hope to Die," "Till Divorce Us Do Part" and "I Waxed My Bikini Line for This?" (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

At the advanced age of thirtysomething, Becky Steele is finally getting married, much to the delight of her mother. On her wedding day, she develops wedding-day jitters in their most virulent form and bails out of the wedding and out the bathroom window of the church. Becky comes equipped with the usual virago of a mother, and two caricatures of best friends, Anouska and Kate. At Anouska's wedding, Becky meets Zachary Bourne, a 22-year-old American rock star, and they have sex in the pool utility room during the reception. What Becky intended as a one-night stand becomes a full-blown affair, with many turns and twists. The entire story consists of rather forced one-liners among the various characters; some of them provoke a chuckle, others fall flat. The language is salty to say the least, and the sexual scenes graphically described. Hearing the material instead of reading it adds to its impact. Shirley Barthelmie does an excellent job of portraying the ditsy Becky and the young rock star, though the two friends tend to blur into one person. An optional purchase for large public libraries where there is demand for bawdy novels. Nancy Reed, McCracken Cty. P.L., Paducah, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.