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Her Paperback – July 8, 2003

42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

The problem with most of the post-Bridget Jones fiction is that the dithering heroines tend to inspire impatience rather than sympathy, but in the novel Her, Laura Zigman skillfully avoids that common pitfall. Elise is engaged to be married to Donald. Displaced New Yorkers living in Washington, D.C., they bond over the foibles of life in the capital: pundits at the grocery store, power brokers at the baggage claim. Donald seems a truly amiable fellow, a fine fictional creation worth fighting over. Enter the titular her, Donald's ex-girlfriend Adrienne, a dark beauty who's catty and gracefully catlike all at once. When Adrienne relocates from New York to D.C., Elise fights a pitched battle over the hapless Donald, who of course has no idea of the warfare on his behalf. Unfortunately, Elise can be so insecure and jealous that the reader guiltily begins to root for Adrienne--at least she's got a little self-respect. Such is the power of romantic formula, however, that when it all comes right for Donald and Elise, we close the book with a satisfied feeling. --Claire Dederer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Zigman's third novel, a wild tale of a woman's "transformation... from bride-to-be to madwoman" is for anyone who's ever felt prewedding jitters and the pangs of obsessive jealousy. Having left her job at a teen magazine in New York City to pursue a quieter life in Washington, D.C., Zigman's narrator, Elise, meets her perfect guy Donald, a reformed bond trader now teaching English at Sidwell Friends on the Delta shuttle. Or her almost perfect guy. Donald's one fault is that he was engaged to Adrienne, and her name crops up in just about every conversation. Though Donald and Elise swiftly fall in love and begin planning their wedding, Elise cannot help obsessing over the brilliant and "horrifyingly gorgeous" former fianc‚e. But like the paranoiac who is being followed, Elise may have good reason to be jealous. Only months before the wedding, Adrienne takes a job in Washington, D.C., and reinserts herself into Donald's life, fueling Elise's jealousy as well as a slapstick plot having to do with Donald's dog, Elise's wedding dress and liposuction. Zigman is better at caricature than characterization, and her emphatic, read-aloud style sometimes falls flat on the page. Yet some scenes when Donald meets Elise, for instance are fresh and smart and almost perfect, as are many of her one-liners.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 209 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (July 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375713220
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375713224
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,990,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laura Zigman grew up in Newton, Massachusetts (where she felt she never quite fit in), and graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (where she didn't fit in either) and the Radcliffe Publishing Procedures Course (where she finally started to feel like she fit in). She spent ten years working (slaving away) in New York in book publishing where she was a (much-abused under-appreciated) publicist for Times Books, Vintage Books, Turtle Bay Books, Atlantic Monthly Press, and Alfred A. Knopf. After moving to Washington, D.C. (because she was burnt out and didn't know where else to go) and working briefly as a project manager for The Smithsonian Associates (she had a cubicle) and a consultant for Share Our Strength, an anti-poverty non-profit group (she didn't even have a cubicle), she (finally) finished her first novel (that she'd been writing in her 'spare time' for the last five years). (The thinly-disguised autobiographical novel) Animal Husbandry was published in 1998 by The Dial Press and became a national bestseller. It was published in fourteen countries (or more, she's not sure) and in 2001 the film based on the book, 'Someone Like You,' (they changed the title at the last minute because they were afraid people wouldn't 'get' the meaning of the original title -- not that she's complaining or anything) starring Ashley Judd and (excuse her while she drools) Hugh Jackman, was released by Fox 2000. Her second (thinly-disguised autobiographical) novel, Dating Big Bird, also published by The Dial Press, came out in 2000, and her third (thinly disguised autobiographical) novel, Her, published by Knopf (where she once worked ' an exquisite irony), followed in 2002. Her latest (thinly-disguised autobiographical) novel, Piece of Work, to be published by Warner Books on September 25, 2006 (finally, after four long years in between books ' maybe her parents will now leave her alone), is based on her (horrific but entertaining) experiences as a publicist and has been optioned by Tom Hanks' production company, Playtone Pictures, with My Big Fat Greek Wedding's Nia Vardalos (luff her) set to write the screenplay and star in the movie (please God let that happen).
She currently lives outside Boston (in the same town she grew up in '- how weird is that? ' and where she now feels like fits in) with her husband and young son.
(Oh, and she finally has a website:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Why is it that books that have such a great plot (spying on your fiance's ex-fiancee -- that could be so funny) turn out to be so poorly written?
First, there's the main character, Elise, who is difficult to like even before she goes crazy and spends all of her time trying to prove Donald, her fiance, is cheating on her. Elise is extremely self-centered, very needy, is a witch to her friends, never treats Donald with an ounce of respect, and the whole time I read the book, I just wanted to KICK HER VERY HARD!
Then's there is Donald, who is too nice for words and has a weird habit of taking off his pants when he's upset, or excited, or whatever. Why that is supposed to be an endering trait is beyond me.
Elise's two best friends, Gayle and Fran, are even worse. Gayle lives by mooching off others and is an idiot. Fran owns a successful clothing store and gets her kicks off of making other people feel bad.
So by the time Her, the ex-fiancee, Adrienne, is written into the story, you're happy. At least she has some depth. At least all of her bad traits (manipulation, a huge ego, etc.) are supposed to be there. The reader is supposed to hate her, but you really end up hating everyone else.
The ending is chliched, and it happens too quickly, like suddenly the author realized how horrible the characters are and wanted nothing to do with them anymore.
The book is a fast read, thank goodness, but it isn't worth the two hours it will take you to finish it. Do something else instead -- take a walk, bake some cookies, or simply read a different book. You'll be glad you did.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Caroline P. Hampton on August 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I usually like Laura Zigman's work. I loved "Animal Husbandry" and really enjoyed "Dating Big Bird" however, "Her" was a disappointment. To begin with - it's difficult to enjoy a book when you can't stand - understand and relate with the main character. She was annoying, crazy and really unsympathetic. I kept thinking she would get better or the story would unfold and you would understand her motivation. But - it never did.
Elise (the main character) is engaged to nice and comfortable Donald. Her ordered and calm life is turned upside down when Donald's former fiance Adrianne comes back into the picture. I have to say, I enjoyed her character more than another. She at least gave you something interesting to think about. I found her entire relationship with Donald completely unbelievable. There is no way this woman would ever have been with him - but, I will leave that up to you.
There were moments that I was interested - but all in all - the negatives outweighed the positives. Try her other books - they are better.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on May 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I think Laura Zigman is one of the most gifted chick lit writers of this era. I loved Animal Husbandry and Dating Big Bird because I thought she brought something new to a genre full of Bridget Jones-wannabes. I looked forward to reading Zigman's third novel, Her. In Zigman's case, third time isn't a charm.
It's not that I didn't like the book -- after all, I thought it full of Zigman's signature wit -- I was just annoyed with the heroine, Elise. Threatened by her fiancé�s friendship with his gorgeous ex-girlfriend, Elise embarks on a search to find whether or not there is something sinister about the ex-girlfriend's insistence on being part of Donald's life. Though the heroine addressed the fact that she'd become extremely paranoid, I still felt as though I wanted to strangle her at times. Well, I guess I shouldn't judge her too badly considering I have had some bouts of paranoia myself...
Her is still worth reading. Laura Zigman's fun approach to romantic comedy is money well spent.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "tigd" on July 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
When Donald sat down next to Elise on the commuter flight she knew right from the start that the other woman in his life would complicate things. When Donald mentioned Adrienne and explained that even though they had called off their wedding they were still friends Elise knew she should go back to reading her paper and forget she ever laid eyes on Donald. At the same time Donald seemed like the ideal guy. He had moved away from New York to escape the stress of the city just like she had and of course he was gorgeous.
A year goes by and Elise is planning her and Donald's wedding when the phone rings and it is Her. It turns out that Adrienne is moving to the same neighborhood where Elise and Donald live. Elise quickly realizes that having Her so close to Donald is more than she can handle. How will Elise cope with her fiancé's ex living practically around the corner?
I picked up this book after seeing it on a summer reading list and I was hoping it would be one that made me laugh. I wasn't laughing out loud as I read Her but I did chuckle a bit and it was entertaining. The eccentric characters Zigman writes about make this book worth reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Joy Carletti on October 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
I really disliked this book. The plot was okay - quite predictable, but that's to be expected with the genre. But the characters were just awful... I couldn't understand why the main character even *wanted* to stay with her wacko of a fiance. He was bizarre to the point of being unstable. Gayle was about the most annoying best friend ever. And Adrienne, the HER of the title, was far too perfect to be able to relate to, despite the fact that she was probably the most interesting character in the book.

Most everyone reviewing this book has talked about what a disappointment the book was in regard to either its characters or its inability to live up to what was a very interesting premise. But my biggest problem with the book was the grammar. The sentence structure in HER is monumentally poor. I found myself reading a sentence, then rearranging it and rewording it in my head. One sentence I came across had two commas, a colon, and a semi-colon - with only ten words in the sentence! And that was among the shortest non-dialogue sentences in the book; it seemed like there was one run-on sentence after another. Normally, I might not have had such a problem with this if I had been able to chalk it up to being the main character's "voice," but she was supposed to be an EDITOR! It didn't make any sense. After a short while, it became incredibly frustrating for me to keep reading.

Pass over HER. It's not worth your time.
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