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Social Lives Hardcover – September 1, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312378165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312378165
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,102,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Walker halfheartedly investigates the unhappy lives of women in a rich Connecticut suburb in her disappointing second outing (after Four Wives). Jacks Halstead is the materially comfortable wife of a hedge fund manager whose secretiveness and locked briefcase make her suspect that all is not well. But Jacks is a survivor, and soon she's seducing the very rich husband of Rosalyn Barlow, the community's social empress and, ostensibly, Jacks's friend. For her part, Rosalyn is an icy master manipulator, who needs to perform damage control after their 14-year-old daughter is caught performing fellatio on a boy at school. A pawn in Rosalyn's scheme is Sara, a guileless young newcomer bent on leaving the middle class behind. Throughout, the prose is pedestrian (warm smiles, crisp fall air) when it isn't ridiculous (his tongue lay inside her mouth like a giant anchovy) A banal ink-and-paper soap opera, this achieves neither the pluck of chick lit nor the glitziness of a Jackie Collins. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Wendy Walker's provocative insight into the minds and hearts of her characters’ discontent is alternately tender and shocking. Proving that money can never fill the empty places of the soul, Social Lives explores the suburban world of material excess with heartbreaking accuracy."

--Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Driftwood Summer and The Art of Keeping Secrets

 

“In Social Lives, Wendy Walker vividly reveals how the world of money and privilege affects the women who inhabit it, bringing to light the family dynamics it corrupts, the glittering cages it creates, and most poignantly, the lengths some will go to keep it in their grasps. A pitch-perfect novel for our times.”

--Liz Lange, Founder of Liz Lange Maternity

 

"This gripping tale of domestic intrigue and social aspirations in the super-wealthy suburbs of Connecticut will scandalize and enthrall you."

--Elise Chidley, author of Your Roots Are Showing


More About the Author

Wendy Walker has been a stay-home mom for the past eleven years. She began writing about the world around her and is now the author of two novels, Four Wives and Social Lives, both published by St. Martin's Press. Wendy is a former attorney and investment banker and graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and Georgetown University Law Center. Wendy occasionally edits for Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing (Power Moms, Thanks Mom, Thanks Dad), and she is currently working on her third novel.

Customer Reviews

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Interesting,yet relatable, characters.
Julie
I am really hoping there is a sequel because the last chapter and last lines leave you speechless and wanting more!
Jessica Welch
I was quite disappointed in this book, a bit shallow with really not much of a story line.
Carol Cunliff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By EC on October 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The book lifts the veil of perfection and happiness from "rich and respectable" families. The writing is clear and the pace quick as Walker describes the motives behind the endless quest for power and prestige once substantial money has been established. Social Lives is an in depth look at the deals women and men strike to allow their privileged and complicated lives possible. Walker writes in an unflinching style as she reveals her characters' attempts to transcend self-destructive behavior after too many of their justifications lead to the loss of what they truly cherish and value.

The book's pace does not sacrifice intimate exploration of the characters: Husbands and wives try to discern true love in their mature marriages; teenagers turn their first sexual encounters into status symbols while ignorant of the consequences. Walker's plot progresses to when these characters discover that their choices are less than what they believed they had negotiated or won.

By the end of the novel I was hooked and wanted to know more about the future of the characters. How would Caitlin react if she ever discovered her mystery friend? Could David survive a trial? Can Jacks ever forgive herself? Will any of these people ever let go of their past? In sum, Social Lives is a fascinating window into the coveted lives of the affluent, which are filled with as much hope and angst, humor and disillusion as any family.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amy Newmark on September 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I read this book in one day - couldn't put it down. It's a fun, suspenseful, and thought-provoking look at a segment of American society that really does exist, however incredible that may seem. This is as fun to read as chick lit, but much deeper. It really makes you consider the role of upper middle class women who have an implied deal with their husbands when they stay home to raise the kids while their husbands keep working. The plot was fascinating and the character development was excellent - you really get the know the characters.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In Winchester, Connecticut, the four wives meet to plan and host an event at Winchester Academy. Rosalyn, married to billionaire Barlow, is the social leader who decides who is in and who is not. Newcomer Sara gave up investigative reporting to marry Wall Street guru Nick, but has doubts about a second child while they are over budget in renovating their McMansion. After sneak peeks into her husband's locked attach case, Jacks fears that David's hedge fund has collapsed even as she worries the Feds are looking into potential illegal deals and loan sharks want instant payment. Eva likes her role as a wife and as a relationship saboteur.

Eva knows Jacks and Barlow are having an affair; instead of ignoring it or outing them, she arranges for Queen Rosalyn to believe Sara is the other woman. Meanwhile Rosalyn worries about her fourteen years old daughter Caitlin going hot and heavy with student hunk Kyle; thus the event in which a sexologist will warn parents that teens prefer Friends with Benefits rather than commitments. Caitlin wants more from Kyle, but knows the student queen of mean Amanda is manipulating both of them while she turns to a friend on the net for advice and solace.

This is an entertaining look at the affluent who asks themselves is that all there is as they are discontented with their lives. Rosalyn, Sara and Jacks are developed enough for their disgruntlement to seem genuine though few readers will feel any empathy towards the golden spoon crowd. The behind the scenes manipulator Eva is underdeveloped especially why she enjoys being Machiavelli in Connecticut. Still fans who like reading about the rich and not famous will want to read the SOCIAL LIVES of FOUR WIVES.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ruthjoec on October 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As I said when I reviewed Walker's first novel, Four Wives, if this is what being rich is all about, I'm glad I'm not. The women in the story are all in the same social group and all claim to be friends, but the back-stabbing, petty put-downs and "me first" attitudes many of the carry don't endear them to me. The character who meant the most to me was the 14 year old daughter, Caitlin. She was a girl in need of parenting and what she got instead were playmates and nannies (and I'm not knocking nannies--good childcare workers are worth their weight in gold, but they aren't parents and should have to substitute for parents).

I enjoyed the book. It had a plotline that resolved in a reasonably satisfying manner, though I wouldn't exactly call it a happy ending. It was really more about the characters than the plot.
The book is mass-market fiction with sexual activity between people who are not married, but no vivid descriptions thereof. It doesn't glorify that activity; rather it comes across as yet another example of how money can't buy happiness.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Moneypenny on January 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book — it wasn't anything to write home about, but it was just what I was looking for. Something that kept my attention, I got into it quickly, and interesting story, etc. I would recommend reading it, just for something fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dolly on October 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading this book makes me happy that I am just a middle of the road kind of gal!
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By Terri Myers on June 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
But they entertain us...Wendy shows us that money definitely does not purchase happiness. Will they or won't they be happy in the end?
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