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Summary of BookLovers

Written by Debbie Marshall
Edited by Elizabeth Angela


[Judy enters the black and white frame and sits on the solitary stool as we hear her voice: "When you've been involved with a married man and you've decided you're never going to see him again, here's what you do..."

Through the bookstore window we see Judy gently tapping the phone as her voice-over says, "You don't call him." The strains of "The Very Thought of You" play in the background.

The music continues as Judy tries to avoid the telephone, first as she walks down the street eyeing a pay phone, and then in her bedroom as the answering machine picks up the ringing phone. "Even if he calls you," her voice offers.

"Even if you listen to the message a few times," her voiceover instructs as she pushes the answering machine button, holding the phone, then finally covering the phone with a large pillow and sitting on it. "That's what you do all day long. You don't call him back. And all you want is something else to think about. Anything else."]

Studying a large bulletin board in "My Sisters Bookstore," Grace gushes, "This is a genius idea." Her attention is focussed on a Polaroid picture of a woman named Debra and the book title The Slender Thread posted below the photo. Grace energetically explains the idea that came to Judy one sleepless night: "People recommending books to each other. And having that be how they decide if they want to meet each other. I mean, I judge people by what books they like." Judy has christened this venture "BookLovers" which she and Grace agree should be the new name for the bookstore. Lily does not seem to be caught up in the swirl of enthusiasm engulfing Judy and Grace. "'My Sister's Bookstore' doesn't sound...," Judy begins. "It sounds like a lesbian bookstore," Grace interjects. Grace suggests advertising via flyers but Judy has already committed to a full-page ad in the Evanston Review to trumpet the coming of "'BookLovers' Night."

In the background, Zoe "helps" the cappuccino machine repairman. When he announces that he's finished, Judy grabs her checkbook and asks, "Who do I make it out to?" "Will Gluck," he states as the enamored Zoe mouths his name to herself. Before leaving he suggests that Judy move the counter to open up the room and reviews the fenced-in area between the store's back door and the alley for possible unused space.

Back at Rick's apartment, Lily says, "It's so sad. I've watched her delude herself so many times." Rick is aggressively disemboweling a raw chicken with his bare hands. Lily continues her less than supportive description of Judy's plan and defends her opinion by summing it up: "I don't have time for her screw-ups." She tells Rick that Judy is changing the name of the bookstore to "BookLOVERS," clearly dissatisfied with the suggestion. Rick's pensive look forces her response, "What, you think that's a better name?" Rick wonders how people are to choose one another -- from the books? the pictures on the wall? "Exactly, it's too complicated, to pick one title from every book you've ever read?" Lily affirms as if to prove the unworthiness of the idea. "In Cold Blood," Rick chimes in. "That's your favorite book?" a disbelieving Lily quizzes Rick as he dismembers the chicken with a large meat cleaver. "I've always thought 'My Sister's Bookstore' made it sound like it was mainly for women," Rick innocently declares. "What else do you want me to cut up," he adds while wiping the bloodied cleaver.

At Jake's restaurant a blues singer croons "The Very Thought of You" as Judy and her friend Debra from pottery class enter. "Look at this - and it isn't even the weekend," Judy says as she surveys the crowd. Tiffany greets them as Jake strides forward. The restaurant is clearly doing well. Jake proudly explains that the review in The Trib helped. Tiffany continues her awkward, out-of-place, New Age commentary as Judy's eyes widen from the sheer vacuous nature of Tiffany's presence.

Over at pagesAlive.com, Christie hangs up the phone and huffs, "Damn venture capitalists," as Lily arrives. The concern in Christie's voice shows as she explains that the company may be bringing in partners. This is not good. Lily doesn't quite grasp the severity of the situation and wonders if bringing in a managing editor wouldn't help Christie. Yeah, help her right out the door. "Don't you understand?" Christie questions. "I have given my life to his magazine and now I have no life."

Judy is placing her order at the counter of the coffee shop when Karen approaches and reintroduces herself. Realizing that Lily may enter at any moment, Judy seems flustered. She begins to relax slightly and proudly shows Karen the newspaper ad for "Booklovers." "Wow, look at this," Karen says, plainly impressed. "'Booklovers.' That's a great name." Unused to such support for her ideas, Judy suggests that she find a match for Karen. "Are you still with that guy? That 'too young for you' one?" Judy asks. "I don't know why," Karen ponders.

As the waitress hands Judy her "two no-foam lattes," Karen's ears perk at the word "two," a clear signal that Lily may enter at any moment. She quickly makes an apologetic exit out the side door just as Lily enters from the front.

A bit pressed for time, Judy needs to get back to the repair guy she hired to fix up the alley. Lily's lack of reinforcement is blatant when she challenges the repairman's experience. "Do you think I'd hire him if he weren't experienced?" Judy says defensively. Lily's look of superiority says it all.

"So, you've done this before, right?" Judy timidly asks Will when she returns to the bookstore. Will describes his vision of the alley: Clear out the mess, strip down a bench, put up some lights, a trellis, a fountain, maybe. Her expression softens as she's swept up in the imaginary scene. "Could it be done by Friday?"

Continuing to seek Lily's approval and get some much needed publicity, Judy visits Lily's office at pagesAlive. It seems like a natural fit -- pagesAlive and "Booklovers." If only Lily could get Christie to attend the opening. "I really need this to work," Judy says. Trying not to dampen her enthusiasm completely, Lily promises to ask Christie.

Over lunch at Rick's office, Lily reviews the "BookLovers" ad. Lily petulantly complains about the embarrassing position Judy has put her in by suggesting Christie cover the "Booklovers" opening. David enters the conversation and wants to know when he's going to meet Christie. "You're not," Rick inserts. "You reject people for not measuring up to some impossible standard of physical perfection." "Alright, your assessment of my behavior may have some basis in fact," David agrees as he examines the newspaper ad with an interested air.

Tiffany sits at the bar of "Phil's" and studies for her bartending class which will begin next week -- and which apparently is news to Jake. It seems logical to Tiffany, however, "It pays better. I love people. Rosie (the current bartender) is leaving. You won't have to look for someone new."

Judy watches Will clear the alley aware that quite a lot remains to be done by Friday. Karen has come to the bookstore after all, and examining the bulletin board, recognizes a former boyfriend, Lloyd Lloyd. She uncomfortably explains their relationship to Judy. "No chemistry on my part. I really hope he meets someone."

[In black and white, Karen confesses: "I just felt so guilty. Seeing him up there like he'd done something wrong."]

Judy tries to take Karen's picture but she begs off because she's "involved with someone." "Lily won't be here -- I guarantee," Judy solemnly states, but Karen assures her that's not the reason for her timidity.

"I wish I could be at that 'BookLovers' thing," Zoe wistfully hints as she helps with the linens at 'Phil's.'" Grace teasingly suggests it's because Will might be there. Trying to be a part of the conversation, Jake wants to know who Will is, and what "'BookLovers' thing". Grace tells him it's "a singles' thing. You know, where people meet each other." Jake absentmindedly says out loud that maybe he should give it a try. Grace reminds him it's to meet people. "So?" Jake responds. "So, you have Tiffany," Zoe states, not quite comprehending the big picture.

Lily eyes the new name on the window as she enters the bookstore. Judy again asks if Lily has spoken to Christie. Though she has not yet done so, Lily promises to when the timing is right. Judy finally recognizes that Lily is not at ease with the situation. "I understand. People are always looking for ways to meet people. I mean, not everyone can be you and meet someone before they're officially separated in the car pool lane at school."

Will wipes his hands as he approaches the counter. Taking an interest in the alley renovation project, Judy has bought some landscaping books. Will seems taken aback and informs her that he has "something in mind." Later, however, he hesitantly opens the books.

With Will safely out of earshot in the alley, Lily comments that he is cute. Judy assures her that she "didn't hire him to have sex."

[In black-and-white, Judy continues: "That's who she sees me with -- the cappuccino machine repair guy. Whereas she's with the successful architect. Not that it's a competition."]

Judy protests that she's not interested in Will. Apologizing for her curtness, Judy is slightly overwhelmed with "'BookLovers' Night" happening the day after tomorrow. Lily promises to call after she's spoken to Christie then kisses Judy good-bye and heads off.

Back at the office, Christie seeks Lily's advice and wonders if she should attend "'BookLovers' Night." Lily is nonplused as she examines the Evanston Review ad Christie has found. She explains that "BookLovers" is the bookstore she used to own with her sister, yet fails to mention Judy's suggestion of Christie's attendance. Christie expounds on her desperation by confessing a totally detailed fantasy she has envisioned with David. She swears she doesn't want a fix-up but, "If our paths should cross spontaneously..."

Christie assesses Lily as "unjudgmental," and continues soliciting her acceptance by asking if Lily would participate in "'BookLovers'Night." An agitated Lily backpedals, uncertain how the experience will work. Christie is clearly deflated. Trying to save the situation Lily wonders what Christie is looking for. "David," she replies. Lily balks. "Lily, you have no sense of humor," Christie jokes.

As the "BookLovers" bulletin board becomes increasingly crowded, Judy's friend Debra scrutinizes the picture of Lloyd Lloyd. She has returned for a retake of her photo, while Judy prods her to choose a more lighthearted book. Through the camera lens Judy catches a glimpse of Will who walks away with a disgusted look. Judy follows him to the alley where he tells her it's "pointless and phony" to have her friend choose another book. Judy explains the strategy at play. While J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey, about a teenager's nervous breakdown, may be Judy's favorite book, in this circumstance she might prefer to make a different choice. Her aim is to put her best foot forward and people may presuppose a connection between her and the character in the book. Judy awkwardly suggests that Will can't understand this since he hasn't...."read the book," Will finishes.

Jake inspects the board with an admiring glance and comments, "This is a smart move." Will strides past them out the door and Jake recognizes him as "Will Gluck," the subject of Zoe's adoration. His eyes glaze as he wonders what book he'd recommend. "The Stranger Beside Me. It's a great book -- true crime -- like In Cold Blood." Telling Judy that "Tiffany's great, I'm not sure she's what I'm looking for," he has his picture taken for the bulletin board.

On the phone to Lily, Judy enthusiastically greets her sister: "Thank you so much. She was so positive. She's coming to "'BookLovers' Night." "Christie was there?" Lily says with awe. Wanting to assess the situation, Lily says she wants to come to the event to support Judy. She neglects to mention, however, that she didn't exactly send Christie over to the bookstore.

[Panning through the photos on the bulletin board the people begin talking in black and white frames: "I mean if anyone really knew how bad it's been." "The things I've put myself through just on the chance, the hope, I might meet someone." "It's just so hard to believe this is my life." "I never pictured myself alone.."]

Finally "'BookLovers' Night" has arrived. People are mingling as Lily enters the room and immediately runs into Christie. Sizing up the situation, Christie says gleefully, "It's so first day of school. Nerdy and embarrassing. It's got to be in our magazine." Judy tells her that's why she wanted Lily to tell Christie about this idea. " I didn't hear about this from Lily," Christie blurts.

Judy heads to the back door, where Lily catches up to her. "I was waiting for the right moment and the next thing she was showing me the ad," Lily asserts. Finding this difficult to believe, Judy realizes, "You've been against this whole thing. You're so judgmental. You don't want me to succeed. It's so obvious I can't believe I didn't see it."

[A distressing realization dawns on Lily in her black and white scene: "My god, it's true."]

Judy goes back inside, mingles with the crowd, and introduces Lloyd Lloyd to Debra. At last, Will gently leads Judy into the alley. Turning on the lights, Judy witnesses an enchanting transformation. Dumbstruck with awe she tells Will, "I shouldn't have doubted you." She begins to see his charms, endearingly suggests a glass of wine and apologizes for any incorrect assumptions she may have made about him.

[Addressing the camera, Will says: "I've been on my own since I was 16. I don't expect things to be fair. But there's a certain kind of woman who when she sees me all she sees is someone who's not good enough. And that's always the woman I want."]

As Will gathers his supplies to leave, the atmosphere is thick with foreshadowing: "Does Gluck really mean happiness?" Judy asks. "You've got me," he responds. "Good luck with everything. I hope everyone meets their match."

As "'BookLovers' Night" carries on inside, Karen suddenly comes face-to-face with Lloyd Lloyd. Keeping him at bay she asserts that she's not participating and is merely a friend of Judy's. Debra returns with a book to show Lloyd, who introduces her to a visibly disquieted Karen.

David ambles toward Christie. They exchange book titles. Hers: The Rules. His: Christ in Concrete. These people are worlds apart and neither is as impressed as they had expected to be.

["Not beautiful enough," David asserts in black and white, tossing back a last sip of wine.]

["Gay," Christy confidently informs the camera.]

Back at Rick's apartment Lily implores, "Is there any way to justify my behavior? I love her, I want her to have a good life." "Just not too good," Rick assesses. Nonetheless, he insists, Lily and Judy will "kiss and make up" like they always do.

Karen finds Judy in the bookstore office to let her know she's leaving. With her confidence shaken, Judy admits to Karen, "I have no idea what I'm doing." "You do know what you're doing. You just don't know that you know," Karen gently corrects her. Hopelessly Judy says, "The guy I'm in love with is married."

She then begins describing a documentary on the making of "The Wizard of Oz" she'd recently seen on TV. She relates the experience of an actor who played a Munchkin. This man had grown up in a rural community never having seen another "little person" and was astounded when he arrived at the set to see so many others like himself. "I found another Munchkin and now he's gone," Judy concludes her analogy.

Recognizing Judy's pain, Karen offers her hand and begs Judy's presence into the "BookLovers" group. "People are connecting because of you. It might have started because of you and Sam but it's much bigger than that now." The magnitude of her accomplishment registers on Judy's face.

Lily climbs into Rick's bed and describes her experience. "All those people tonight desperately trying to read each other's minds, read each other's signals. When all they really want is to be pulled off the shelf and...." "...enjoyed," Rick says completing her thought. They cuddle and clasp hands entwining their fingers.

[Now that "'BookLovers' Night" has concluded, Judy cleans up and we hear her voiceover once more: "There's all this love that no one every receives. Like letters without stamps. Or all the food that goes to waste and is thrown away. And there are people going to bed hungry and lonely."]

Tiffany sits alone at the restaurant bar. Judy lovingly holds pictures of herself and Sam. Will sits alone in his car staring at the phone and finally picking it up to call Judy. She lets the phone ring and begins tearing up the formerly cherished photos.

To the strains of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" Judy gets out the Polaroid and takes her own picture before locking up for the evening.

[Her picture on the bulletin board begins to speak: "I recommend Franny and Zooey because she has a nervous breakdown and it turns out to be a really good idea."]

The End



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