By Joanne Kaufman FRANCINE PROSE and Beth Perry
Updated January 15, 2007 12:00 PM

by Laura Ruby



Ben is married to Moira, former wife of Tate, who is dating Roxie, ex-wife of Alan … and so on in Ruby’s mordant, well-observed first novel that takes its title from the Julia Roberts vehicle Stepmom. Essentially a collection of interconnected short stories that serve as dispatches from the divorce wars—families are not blended as much as they are shaken—I’m Not Julia Roberts breaks no new ground in terms of subject matter. But, notably in a story told in bilious letters and e-mails that works backward from the divorce decree to the first notes of discord, Ruby makes hilariously, heart-wrenchingly clear that breaking up is hard to do.