Beth Gutcheon's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Our guest today: Beth Gutcheon Why we love her: Who doesn't like to have a little Gossip in her life?

Her latest book: Gossip

The scoop on it: Loviah "Lovie" French owns a small, high-end dress shop on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Renowned for her taste and discretion, Lovie is the one to whom certain women turn when they need "just the thing" for major life events—baptisms and balls, weddings and funerals—or when they just want to dish in the dressing room. Among the people who depend on Lovie's confidence are her two best friends since boarding school: Dinah Wainwright and Avis Metcalf.

Outspoken and brimming with confidence, Dinah made a name for herself as a columnist covering the doings of New York's wealthiest and most fabulous. Shy, proper Avis, in many ways Dinah's opposite, rose to prominence in the art world with her quiet manners, hard work, and precise judgment. Despite the deep affection they both feel for Lovie, they have been more or less allergic to each other since a minor incident decades earlier that has been remembered and resented with what will prove to be unimaginable consequences.

These uneasy acquaintances become unwillingly bound to each other when Dinah's favorite son and Avis's only daughter fall in love and marry. On the surface, Nick and Grace are the perfect match—a playful, romantic, buoyant, and beautiful pair. But their commitment will be strained by time and change: career setbacks, reckless choices, the birth of a child, jealousies, and rumor. At the center of their orbit is Lovie, who knows everyone's secrets and manages them as wisely as she can. Which is not wisely enough, as things turn out—a fact that will have a shattering effect on all their lives.

Our thoughts: Gossip explores how dangerous too much information can really be.  We couldn't wait for the secrets to spill out!

Fun fact: Beth has a BA in English lit from Harvard.  You go, girl!

Giveaway: FIVE copies!  Leave a comment and we'll choose the winners on Sunday April 15th after 6pm PST.  Good luck!


1. Stop worrying about having to go to bed with curlers in your hair when you're married. Your hair is fine just the way it grows out of your head and when the time comes, your hair will be down to here, your mother, who has to go to the hair parlor every week to achieve the look she thinks is appropriate, will be horrified no matter what you do, and the guy will think it's amazing that you even know what curlers are.

2. You know all the people where you grew up who think that making a life in the arts is sort of like joining the circus, interesting but not in a good way? They may be true for them, but that doesn't make them right. Just because you've never seen anyone do it doesn't mean you won't be able to do it. There are many worlds to live in undreamt of by your parents. Make the best of where you are, and wait for the cage doors to open; they will.

3. By all means, keep a diary, but as social history, not personal wailing wall. If all that is in it is angst and affect, you'll be embarrassed and never look at it when the mood has passed, though your little brother and his friends will . . . surely you don't think that wee lock is going to stop them? Do you really want them knowing that you and Johnny Meybin have a secret place for leaving notes for each other in study hall? But if you keep a straightforward non-private record of the high points of the days, what you did and with whom, what you ate, what it cost, movies you saw and books you read, you will find it absolutely fascinating in later years and actually useful should you decide to write novels. Or your memoirs. Just don't tell it secrets; tell your friends your secrets, and they'll tell you theirs. It's much more fun, and you'll learn more, about them, yourself, and the world.

4. Don't worry if you don't want what you're supposed to want, or like what you're supposed to like. The people who find the world is their oyster when they are teenagers are often really surprised by what happens next.

5. Whoever said that your youth is the happiest time of your life is either full of it or can't remember what it was really like. Being young is horrible because it's like being a character in a story someone else is writing. It's true your skin and your figure will probably never be better and probably nothing in your body hurts, but other than that, it is much more fun to actually understand who you are and where you belong, and to have your own money and friends and make your own choices even when they're mistakes. Just try not to marry any of your mistakes.

Thanks Beth! xoxo, L&L

To read more about Beth, head don over to her website or find her on Facebook and Twitter.