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The Heights Hardcover – March 4, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult; First Edition edition (March 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 052595113X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525951131
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,060,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hedges's first novel in more than a decade reads a lot like Tom Perrotta minus the satire or Jonathan Tropper with less humor, but Hedges's excellent characterization and writing render it a worthy outing. Tim Welch and Kate Oliver are happily married, living the urban dream in Brooklyn Heights, until the wealthy and beautiful Anna Brody moves in nearby, forcing them to question if happiness is enough. Anna's arrival coincides with the forced retirement of Tim's father, a celebrated women's basketball coach, due to a sexual scandal; a lucrative job for Kate; and the reappearance of Kate's former love, now a television star. And while the entire neighborhood is fascinated with Anna, it's Tim and Kate she pulls into her orbit—intent on taking Tim as a lover—causing the seams of their marriage to fray and forcing them into situations they never would have predicted for themselves, even if the reader isn't exactly surprised at how things play out. The plot tends toward busy, but Hedges (What's Eating Gilbert Grape) keeps it under control, his sympathetically real characters holding down the novel's solid center. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Kate and Tim tell the story of their practically perfect life (he’s a history teacher in a posh private school; she’s a stay-at-home mom) in alternating chapters. Brooklyn Heights, their neighborhood, rife with social strata, rules, and conventions, is rocked by a newcomer, Anna Brody, the beautiful, mysterious wife of a very wealthy man who latches onto the couple. Then, when opportunities impel Kate back to work, Tim becomes the at-home parent, ostensibly at work on his long-delayed dissertation. An old flame of Kate’s, now a TV star, stirs up more mischief, while Bea, a student of Tim’s with a crush, offers her perspective. Ultimately, deceptions replace perfect openness. Hedges, of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1991) fame, demonstrates a sure touch with people and settings. The somewhat predictable outcomes are ameliorated by the charm of his characters and his obvious fondness for them. While Hedges’ use of the old-fashioned convention of beginning chapters with a variation on “ if only I had known” can be tiresome, this is an enjoyable novel of modern manners. --Danise Hoover

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Customer Reviews

The story unfolds like some mediocre character driven drama.
Sarah J. Andrus
This book is funny, compelling, full of real and interesting characters, the dialogue witty, the observations spot-on.
Gentle Reader
Overall, I'm not sorry I read it, but it's not a story that's going to stick with me.
J. Shetrone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By I Wanna Be A Pepper Too on February 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I would put this novel under the "Good Escapist Reading" category: a simple, frequently funny, almost always sweet and tender story told with heart.

Tim and Kate married when he was 23, and she 25. Despite having so many attractive and bound-to-be-financially-successful suitors, Kate - in Tim's mind -- chose to "marry down" when she chose to marry him. Kate, for her part, found Tim's kindness, soul-baring vulnerability, and honesty touching.

Nine years into their marriage and raising two small boys with Tim's modest private-school history teacher's salary in a tony Brooklyn Heights neighborhood, Tim and Kate find themselves constantly under financial pressure, and for Kate at least, longing for an alternate future, one where they could afford the finer things in life.

In come three people into the picture: Anna Brody, wife of the newest richest guy in town; Bruno Schwine, Kate's former gay boss who has a new gig running a charitable foundation for a highly successful former classmate, and Jeff Slade, one of Kate's former suitors who is now a rich and famous actor.

Through their encounters with these people, Tim and Kate got a taste of the potential good that fame and fortune can bring to bear on people's lives. But alas, not all of their experiences would turn out to be positive. How would their lives change as a result? Would their marriage survive?

The story is told mostly from Tim's and Kate's first person accounts of events and their reactions to them as those events unfold, with the narration occasionally switching also to first person accounts of other characters, most notably Bea Myerly, whose intense student crush on Tim rivals that of Rachel's on Mr. Schuster in Glee's Endless Love episode (smile). Mr.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Kristen Stewart VINE VOICE on February 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Peter Hedges' The Heights centers around a young couple living in a upscale neighborhood on a shoestring budget with two small children. With his dissertation hanging over his head, Peter teaches history at the local private school, and Kate stays home with their boys. The characters are extremely likeable and the novel is easy to read, drawing readers in with charm and grace. I even found the secondary voice of Bea (one of Peter's students) fun to read, even if generally less believable than her adult counterparts.

We follow along as Kate and Peter wrestle with changes in their lives, their ever-mounting bills, and the challenges of marriage. Like many young modern couples, they are physically and emotionally distant from their families and are trying to make their way more alone in the world than previous generations. Their stories and their voices, though silly and exaggerated at times (I can see the makings of the screenplay already) are easy to relate to.

Like many contemporary novels, it alternates between several voices. Though it wasn't poorly written, I didn't find it overly distinct. The aim seems to be more towards a movie deal than a literary prize. Overall, it's a light and enjoyable read, very appropriate for the beach. (3.5/5)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gayla M. Collins VINE VOICE on February 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I picked this book off Vine because a dear friend suggested it and I loved the movies this author has written......"What's Eating Gilbert Grape,' "Pieces of April," About a Boy" and my favorite, "Dan In Real Life." I hoped I would enjoy his novel as much as his movies. I did. Completely. Left all the housework, planned shopping, and ordered take in for hubby so I could devote most of my moments of the day to reading this enticing book. So glad I did except it is over now and I can only pray that a movie follows.(Written and directed by Mr. Hedges)

Tim, a private school history teacher is married to Kate, a stay at home mom with two small boys. They have enjoyed marital bliss for 9 years, residing in ritzy Brooklyn Heights, NYC which starves their tiny budget. When Kate is offered a six figure job Tim hops at the opportunity to take a year's sabbatical and be a house dad who can finish his ridiculously over due dissertation. All seems sublime until Tim is enchanted by rich mom who seduces he and his sons into play dates with her daughter. Kate develops a taste for wealth, enjoying forays with their wealthier counterparts in Brooklyn Heights. "The grass is always greener" applies and soon both are living lives of disenchanted selfishness. Mr. Hedges reveals the refuse that accumulates from wanting more than we can hande. We humans are all capable of dalliances in our minds and beyond! Wealth and prestige can be powerful aphrodisiacs easily leading to corruption on all levels. The prose is lovely, witty, well-conceived and narrated by two major characters and a few minor.

I became a willing indentured servant to "The Heights" as the story resonated with the foibles of all human frailty and the humility we exorcise if willing to forgive and be forgiven. Perhaps a simple story, but not simplistic answers at this author's deft fingertips. Well done.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Pamela A. Poddany VINE VOICE on February 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )

This book is told in one of my favorite ways -- each character tells a portion of the story. Sometimes that section goes on for pages, other times it will consist of one or two words. Very good story telling. Each character has their own personal voice and makes this book gratifying.

We meet Kate and Tim, living in the Heights section of Brooklyn. It's a great neighborhood to raise a family in and Kate and Tim are doing just that; bringing up their two young sons. Tim is a much loved history teacher and Kate stays at home with their boys. The neighborhood hosts a diverse bunch of people -- mostly upper middle class, some upper class. These young couples work, set up play dates with their children, party together, and gossip about everyone and everything in the Heights.

Enter a new family who moves into one of the most fantastic brownstones in the neighborhood. This family is THE FAMILY now in the Heights. Everyone wants to be included in their circle of friends. However, the Mrs. of the couple, one Anna Brody, is elusive and pretty stand-offish to everyone in the Heights. She seems to want to befriend one couple only and that couple is Kate and Tim.

Little do Kate and Tim realize how Anna Brody will effect the lives of their neighbors and their own lives. Anna will befriend pretty much only Kate, plying her with gifts and her company.

Enter into Kate and Tim's lives Kate's former boss who offers her an awesome job. She accepts and starts to be the major bread winner in the family. Tim becomes a stay at home dad and enters into the world of play dates, kids, and the social conditions of 'the mommys'.
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