Review: The Lion Is in by Delia Ephron

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (January 29, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0452298938
  • Source: Publisher

Three women are on the run. Tracee is a kleptomaniac, running from a life spiraling out of control. Her best friend, Lana, is alcoholic who just happened to be with Tracee when she decided to bolt. She stole a great deal of her father’s money and drank it away, so Tracee is really the only person of value in her life right now. Rita is a minister’s wife, desperate to escape her dull-drum life. She just happened to come across Tracee and Lana on the side of the road and joined in on their journey. When their car breaks down on a rural highway in North Carolina, they are forced to seek shelter in what they thought was an abandoned nightclub. Turns out, it wasn’t abandoned, just neglected. When they find a caged lion inside, everything changes.

Tracee, afraid that her past crimes will catch up with her, is unable to anyone to help with the broken down car. Instead, the three women agree to work at the nightclub, sharing a single salary, in order to earn the money to repair the car.  In doing so, each of the women embark on a journey of self discovery and healing, the impetus for such a grand transformation is the lion, Marcel, himself. Something about this caged king of the jungle sets each of the women free, allowing them to break through the restraints binding them to their current lives an allowing them to evolve into completely different, incredibly strong, women.

In each of these women, Ephron has created extremely flawed characters that readers can’t help but connect with. Compassion, friendship, and understanding are characteristics of this book that make it a truly heartwarming read. Personally, I read it in one sitting, sad when I finally turned the last pages. I wasn’t ready to let go of the characters quite yet. Days later, I still miss them, and I find myself wondering what the women (and Marcel!) are doing now.

If you are looking for a witty, humorous, uplifting read, The Lion Is in is the book for you. Highly, highly recommended.

3 thoughts on “Review: The Lion Is in by Delia Ephron


  1. I hadn’t heard of this one, Jenn. It probably wouldn’t ordinarily be in my direct line of sight, though. Your review made me think of Thelma and Louise or Boys on the Side. I might have to track this one down!!


    1. You know, it isn’t one that I would typically read either but something about it grabbed my attention. Yes, definitely a lot like Thelma & Louise (without the cliffhanger ending!) and Boys on the Side.


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