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Prospect Park West: A Novel Hardcover – September 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416577637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416577638
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #718,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former New York magazine Mating columnist Sohn zeroes in on the more-fertile-than-thou crowd in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood in her vinegary latest (after My Old Man). Like a Grand Hotel for the yuppie set, the lives of moody, angry, dissatisfied mommies intersect on the playgrounds and co-ops of their overpriced hood. Among them, Lizzie, whose lesbian proclivities mask her loneliness; Rebecca, whose libidoless spouse prefers his role as dad over husband; Karen, a social-climbing conniver; and Melora, a former Manhattanite whose psychiatric maladies are as pathetic as they are numerous. The gals in this comedy of bad manners are burned out, bitchy and beyond salvation as they maneuver to be noticed and loved. Meanwhile, there's more name-dropping than in an edition of Page Six, and while Sohn is obviously intent on skewering the annoying urban mommy stereotype, 400 pages is a stretch for material that's been blogged to death. There are moments of brutal honesty, but they're far too few to allow readers to muster an ounce of sympathy for a crew of caricatures so broadly drawn and sadly conceived. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Kate Reading strikes exactly the right note in performing this razor-sharp satire.... Her masterful performance makes this scathingly entertaining novel a must-listen on audio." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Audio Review
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Amy Sohn's new novel, The Actress, will be published by Simon & Schuster on July 1, 2014. She is also the author four other novels, including Prospect Park West and Run Catch Kiss. She has been a columnist at New York, the New York Post, the New York Press, and Grazia. She co-created a television show for Oxygen entitled "Avenue Amy." She has written for Harper's Bazaar, Premiere, Playboy, Elle, The New York Times, and Details. As a pundit on popular culture, she has appeared on such networks as VH1, MTV, Fox News, CNN, Lifetime, MSNBC, and PBS. She has a brother, five years younger. Her favorite writers are Laurie Colwin, Hilma Wolitzer, Charles Bukowski, Nathanael West, Mary Gaitskill, and Bruce Jay Friedman. As a child she was taken to the films Heartland, Splash, Heart Like a Wheel, The Magical Mystery Tour, and Mr. Hulot's Holiday. If she could switch careers she would be a Broadway musical theater producer or a sommelier. She dresses to the left. She believes that when it comes to hair highlights, cheap is expensive. Her favorite candy is York Peppermint Patties and she always has a knot in the same section of her hair when she wakes up. A native New Yorker, she still lives there today.
www.facebook.com/amysohn
www.twitter.com/amysohn
www.amysohn.com.

Customer Reviews

I really wanted to like this book but it just didn't happen.
Dee
If you are so creative as to write a novel, make up characters, rather than peppering your story with tidbits out of entertainment tabloids.
Lucille 2
In the end, however, I didn't really like any of the characters, it was pretty depressing and the ending was unsatisfying.
Penny Allender

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A. Drugay on October 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
One part smut
One part celebrity worship
Four parts whiny mothers who resent their children
Top with a hefty dose of Brooklyn name-dropping and five too many mentions of Gawker - stir swiftly and chug. Do not linger over or savor.

In addition to all of that, there were several dropped storylines, which makes me think this book was in a rush to publish - and makes me wonder, WHY? With some character editing and story tightening, this book could have gained at least another star.

The racial paranoia felt forced, the lesbian action felt psychotic, and the beleaguered descriptions of the effects of prescription medications felt too intimate. Psycho mom Karen was my favorite, character, though. She was pretty crafty.

The smutty parts, seemingly written by a horny 16-year-old who just learned the F word, were the most entertaining ones.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By WonderWoman on April 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book expecting an entertaining read. I'm a Brooklynite very familiar with Park Slope & figured many of the characters & scenarios would resonate. What a waste of the $9.99 I paid to download it to Kindle!

The main characters are written in an overwrought & shallow way that makes them completely unpleasant to read about, the name dropping gets tedious after about the 3 thousandth time, the only characters of color (Black men) are badly caricatured criminals, and Park Slope, while ripe for some good natured ribbing, comes across as a crunchy granola haven of neurotic lunatics. Who is this Amy Sohn chick & how the hell did this book get published?!

Look, I'm all for light, trashy reading. People magazine and Bossip.com are among my guilty pleasures. However, I expect my trash to be fun, witty, and well written. This book is none of those things & I was so disgusted after only a few paragraphs that I deleted it from my Kindle. Don't waste your time folks!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By lazytime on November 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a former resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn, I can testify that Amy Sohn has nailed it on many levels here -- I'm just not sure people without first-hand knowledge of this NYC neighborhood will care that much. It's a fun, fast, trashy read and I became a bit addicted to the book -- but I also skimmed a lot at times. Some of the characters are dull and a lot of them blur together. Not one of them is a person worth liking, which will be a problem for some readers but made it delicious anti-Slope satire for me. There's nothing more boring to me, however, than reading about some overentitled, status-obsessed mommy worrying about getting her kids into the "right" school district. But for anyone who has ever survived the Park Slope Food Coop, this book will have you cackling out loud. Very current, but the pop cultural references (and they are countless) will date this book, so read it soon or don't bother.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By iliketowatch on November 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is what I'm going to do. Any of the celebrities/other authors who recommended this book. Going forward I am going to reject any of their work and ignore any other recommendatuion they ever make. I recommend you do the same. That's how much I hated this paper thin, weak as water, clumsy, charicature filled, celebrity name dropping, smug, smutty, drivel, hillock of cliches. I've never done this before but I tore my copy into pieces lest anyone else have the misfortune of readng it.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Williams on October 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This was one of the most ridiculous books I have ever read. I want my money back. I enjoy books like the Devil Wears Prada, as well as most Candace Bushnell novels; but PPW was too stupid. I felt that this was a Brooklyn poor man's version of One Fifth Ave. I was hugely disappointed because I used to read NYmagazine for Sohn's column alone. There are way too many pages devoted to characters the reader could care less about, and the writing is far from descriptive. The way the book ends is horrible. It's not just a cliff hanger, it ends mid-story. If anything, I'll say Sohn really got the Park Slope stereotypes and the "mise-en-scene" correct. I can maybe recommend this book to new yuppie mothers; because this book is just rich white mothers complaining about their privileged lives. Over it!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J.B. on November 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I figured this book would be fun. I live in Brooklyn, have young children, and know there is ample, good material around for a satire of urban parenting. However, "Prospect Park West" book found almost none of it. Instead, the author relies on cardboard-thin characters and zero humor to impart little other than nastiness. All of the young mothers are shallow, all of the marriages are strained and void of any communication, and all of the children are after-thoughts. Plus, not one of the characters is fully developed, and as a result, their major actions come across as bizarre.

Also, when the book is not mean, it has an odd idea that living in Brooklyn puts you inside the pages of US Weekly.

Satire is supposed to raise greater truths through barbed humor. This book has no larger focus and no comic touch, just barbs.

I am sorry that its publication will most likely crowd out any other novel on modern-day parenting in the city. It's still a worthy topic for a nuanced satire.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dee on November 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I really wanted to like this book but it just didn't happen. I found it impossible to empathize with any of the characters, nor did I like any of them.

I was about 113 pages into it when the book first "jumped the shark" for me (when Karen steals the stolen wallet from Melora's drawer...wtf?). I suppose the author needed to add some 'drama' or mystery to the story so she decided to go this route. It jumped the shark a second time on page 227 (when Karen steals the keys to Melora's home). I should have just given up then but I felt that I owed it to myself to finish the book. After all, I had put so much time into it; how silly of me.

By page 274, things had taken a turn towards the completely unbelievable. I soldiered on, hoping it would improve. Nope, not a chance.

The ending was absolutely ridiculous.

Do I hear tell it that HBO is looking into developing this into a show/series? They should save their time and money and use it for more quality programming. I don't think this as a show would bring anything to the screen...it would simply serve to add more fuel to the rising fires of 'contempt' for mothers and motherhood. And while I'm sure some are out there, not all mothers are as screwed up, neurotic, and adulterous as Sohn's characters are--traits that do little to endear them to anyone, be it reader or real-world.
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