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Ann Pearlman



was paid a cool $1 million for it (she smilingly declines comment). The movie rights have already been sold, and there's even a product tie-in: Zingerman's is selling a special "cookie collection" using some of the recipes in the book.

But Pearlman winces at the suggestion that she'll have to unlist herself. "I love my life as it is!" she says. Although she's cut back her therapy practice to one day a week to write a sequel--she has a three-book contract--she's savvy about the fickle book world. She wrote four un-published novels before Cookie Club clicked, and strange things happened with her three published non-fiction books.

Her first book, Keep the Home Fires Burning: How to Have an Affair with Your Spouse, drew on her work as a marriage counselor. But it didn't stop her own husband from straying--a story she related in Infidelity: A Memoir. Then there was Inside the Crips: Life Inside L.A.'s Most Notorious Gang, which she co-authored with supposedly reformed gang member Colton Simpson. Not long after its publication, Simpson went on trial--charged with driving a getaway car during a jewelry store robbery. No longer a story of redemption, the book foundered.

Pearlman, who is Jewish, was looking for a happier subject when she decided to write a novel based very loosely on her annual Christmas/Hanukkah cookie exchange group. The book is set in Ann Arbor, and the main character, Marnie--she calls herself "the head cookie bitch"--visits or talks about Gallup Park, Crazy Wisdom Bookstore, Top of the Park, and, of course, Zingerman's.

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