29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2009
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.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2011
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!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2009
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.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2011
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.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2009
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!
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2009
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.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2009
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2010
Thank god I decided to borrow the book rather than buy. All the characters in this book are shallow beyond belief and the celebrity name dropping got tiring. Are the rich/famous really this awful and full of themselves? That aside, the racism was horrible. It was supposed to be confronting and shocking but all it did was be offensive simply through perpetuating stereotypes. I am quite open minded when it comes to reading and the writing style isn't bad, but it isn't that great either. I need an engaging storyline at the end of the day and Sohn's use of multiple interwoven characters shows how thinly stretched their stories were. Many authors manage to successfully pull off stories with multiple perspectives (Picoult, Chamberlain) but this one didn't. It ended badly and I felt it left too much unresolved.
So yeah, don't bother with this one.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2010
Ok, So I met this author at an event and let me just say that not only was she insanely rude she was also full of herself. I did not know she was an author and for some reason thought that she must be really famous or something. One of my girlfriends told me about this book and I figured, she must be a hot author to act like that, so why not? People, save your money, go to library. This book is not only poorly written, its story is utterly boring and tries to use smut to make it vaguely interesting. It is clear she just wants to emulate the sex and the city series.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2010
Good things: This book does have a few funny moments. She plays nicely with point of view, in places and does manage to capture that inner monologue that we all have. It is a super fast read and takes no brain power to process, which can be relaxing. There is definitely motion within the book. The writer seems to be making a point of the fact that these women have lives that are intertwined without even knowing about it, which I found mildly interesting, but it is not as well-done as "Lost" . The celebrity stuff didn't bother me per se, however what was the real point of it?
Could use improvement: I heard Amy Sohn refer to her own book as "It's controversial, which is always good." Wrong description. The author is incendiary and makes fun of people. That's OK, but there is no depth to it. This is not satire, just a dishy tale that mocks people and makes the writer seem arrogant and catty. The writer tries too hard to bring racial tension into the book and there is no subtlety to her writing. It felt forced. The sex scenes felt forced and ridiculous too, as though she just wanted to shock people. The characters were cartoon-like and although she tried to give them background and depth it didn't work. For example, Karen, the fat stroller Mom had no real psychology to her. It was as if Sohn just wanted to make her into the fat, helicopter mom just to make fun of her, as I have read she likes to do about women in her neighborhood in general. I don't mind unlikeable characters, but please give me some description of why they turned out that way. Rebecca was the closest to a developed character and she had no arc-- there was no realization or change on her part.
Also, I got the impression that the writer was name dropping a lot. That said, I don't live in Park Slope and wouldn't even know if it is accurate.
This was definitely written in a hurry or just not edited at all. Even the physical descriptions felt unnatural. There is no love of language here. I certainly don't regret reading it as it only took about four hours to finish. Since there is no subtlety to the book, you can just whiz right through it. I find this book void of any real literary magic, though and I am not inclined to read anything else by this author based on this novel, if you can even call it a novel.