THE BEST PLACE TO BE, a novel in stories by Lesley Dormen a novel in stories
Books & Writing


"Dormen's stories are often delightfully, crushingly funny..."

— Alex Kuczynski, New York Times Book Review

"...Following Grace through the maze of midlife and youth, as she tangles with her vivacious mother, long-absconded father, and others, is a journey that is smack-your-forehead familiar, and so crazily funny you could cry."

O, The Oprah Magazine

"Virginia Woolf meets Candace Bushnell in these funny, beautifully written linked stories of one woman's struggle to get through the business of ordinary life."


"...what is wonderful in these stories: Grace's cracker jack voice and canny point of view.... 'Then I described a man not unlike the man I was then dating, my future husband, a man who thought tired was a feeling.' As I calculate the weight of most current fiction, this sentence tips the scales."

Boston Globe

"Dormen's story circles around a pinhole of trauma so dark that the best Grace can do is desperately dance around it for the rest of her life...Best of all, however, Dormen is just fun to read."

Montreal Mirror

"...Dormen's narrator takes plenty of knocks, making the happiness she finds all the sweeter."

Publishers Weekly

"[These stories] read like the best kind of personal essays: dispatches from the (not all bad) front."

More Magazine

"...alternately bittersweet and slyly funny..."

Good Housekeeping

"This collection of elegantly linked stories traces one woman's experiences with love, loss, and finding her place in the world..."

AARP Magazine

"Grace is inquisitive, clever, sublimely compulsive, and owns an inherent loneliness that... doesn't come across as trivialized or steeped in self-pity... Emerging writer Dormen's engaging fiction moves at a fluid pace with an equally affecting sense of poignancy and humor."

— Leah Strauss for Booklist

"Lesley Dormen's funny, bittersweet tale is the knowing portrait of a particular yet archetypal modern woman caught between the demands of her family and her personal ambitions. What captivated me most, however, was the shadow portrait in these pages: a fine cameo of millennial New York, rendered with the same sly, satiric affection that Steve Martin lavished on Los Angeles in Shopgirl."

— Julia Glass, author of Three Junes and The Whole World Over

"Whether she's spending Thanksgiving in Rome watching reruns of the Kennedy assassination, trying to talk her mother out of her face-lift fund so she can pay down her credit card debt, interviewing marriage counselors in Starbucks, or trying to outsmart her larcenous housekeeper, Grace Hanford's life makes perfect postmodern sense. The Best Place to Be is smart, funny, and completely delightful; it's going to make a lot of readers very happy."

— Kathryn Harrison, author of Envy and The Kiss

"The Best Place to Be is a terrific debut. Smart, funny, wise, and altogether heartening. These linked stories read like dispatches from the front of modern womanhood. Lesley Dormen has crafted this book so carefully and elegantly that you might not notice how beautifully it's written. Notice. She's the real deal."

— Dani Shapiro, author of Family History and Black & White