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What She Saw...: A Novel Paperback – September 4, 2001
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Rosenfeld's protagonist, Phoebe Fine, is a sharp-tongued brainiac with rotten self-esteem. Born and raised in suburban New Jersey, she's the daughter of professional classical musicians, hippie theater types who embarrass their kids; they are always going into geeky raptures on the subject of chamber music or obscure lost arts. Phoebe wishes she could be considered "normal." She wishes she had blond hair and perfect teeth, but instead she's painfully ordinary: in the chapter "Jason Barry Gold, or 'The Varsity Lacrosse Stud'" Rosenfeld riffs expertly on the subject of Phoebe's ordinariness:
That's how ugly she was--ugly by virtue of the fact that she was unmemorable, a slab of alabaster awaiting a sculptor who never arrived, a "nothing burger" if there ever was one. Take her nose: it just kind of ended, and her forehead just kind of began--kind of like the weeks in a year and the years in a life. It was the same with her waist and her hips, and her neck and her shoulders. There was nothing definitive about her. She was just this filet of human flesh--just this blah girl running laps behind the gym until she thought her legs would snap, her heart explode.The search for true love keeps Phoebe in a state of high anxiety. It's a wonder she ever gets any sleep. When the right guy gives her the right kind of attention, she's queen for a day. Alone, without the prospect of a lover, she starves herself, drinks too much, occasionally stares into the mystery of her past. What did she see in those men? What did they see in her? At once erotic and awkward, lightweight and troubling, Rosenfeld's debut possesses a powerful charm. Readers who grew up in the '70s and '80s will recognize the landmarks: Farah Fawcett posters, boring social studies classes explaining glasnost. Rosenfeld's a former New York Post nightlife columnist, and What She Saw... has the quick pace, twittering freshness, and panicked hipness of a club-hopper. Deadpan and stylish, it's a novel whose author is out to prove herself. And prove herself she does, in spades. --Emily White --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Phoebe Fine begins her story in the late 70s during her fifth grade year in school. The boy's name is Roger "Stinky" Mancuso, and Phoebe has a crush on him that won't quit. However, Stinky becomes more than just a dream for Phoebe, in ways both good and bad, and this experience becomes the stepping stone for a long and twisted journey.
What She Saw... takes the reader through the odyssey that is Phoebe's love life. It is interesting to watch Phoebe grow up before our eyes, beginning with a sweet, curious kid to a messed-up adult still in search of love and fulfillment. The men that come into Phoebe's life sometimes stay, most often go, but always leave behind a piece of themselves that Phoebe carries with her. It is also interesting to see how each relationship develops and how, ultimately, they crumble. By the book's end, readers are left wondering about Phoebe -- does she make it; does she find true love; does she finally mature and realize that she is more than just the other half of a man?
I recommend this novel with confidence. However, it won't be for everyone. Phoebe is not a wholly likeable character. She is quite frustrating at times. But she is also human with the most basic of desires -- to find love and be loved in return. I could relate to Phoebe on this level, and I think that is the part that cinched the book for me. What She Saw... is indeed a wild ride, but definitely one worth taking.
Then somewhere along the line, the book loses what little bit of charm it has and suddenly you're finding yourself not liking Phoebe that much. As each man revolves his way through her life, you begin to dislike her and her choices more and more. Some of the boyfriends listed aren't even boyfriends but rather fantasy characters, penpals and in the case of Arnold Allen (the only Black guy who stereotypically appears on her list) a criminal. By the end of the novel you're thinking that she deserves everything that has happened to her. Some guys aren't good enough, others are too good and why doesn't she have any friends? One word for you Phoebe: THERAPY!!
At first I thought this was going to be a Sheila Levine for the new millenium. Whereas Sheila's self-depreciating humor and poor choices in men endeared you to her, Phoebe's self depreciating humor had you hoping she would grab a bottle of sleeping pills and end it all. I guess Mrs. Rosenfeld is a fairly talented writer as she was able to evoke such dislike for her protagonist from me, but overall this novel went absolutely nowhere and was a complete waste of my time. I liked Bridget Jones better and that's a stretch. I wouldn't really recommend this to book anyone. If you can find a copy, check out Gail Parent's 'Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York'. Although it's well over trhity years old now, it still maintains a crisp, hip, cutting edge feel to it unsurpassed by any other writer writing in the same vein as What She Saw.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What she saw was very interesting but I had some issues with the ending.Published 6 months ago by Kaylee Rudolph
Loved this book. I felt like I really connected with the characters and author. Great read for someone in their mid 20's.Published 13 months ago by Stephanie
I rather liked the first two-thirds or so of this. Once she graduated from college and her life became messier it sort of wandered off.Published 17 months ago by P. Bolton
I waited 285 pages for this girl to have some kind of revaluation, and it ended up being 285 pages of a woman lowering her standards to please men. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Laura Carroll
Reminded me a LOT of Chelsea Handler's "My Horizontal Life", without the funny. I read the first couple of chapters and kept hoping that the book would get better, but it... Read morePublished on September 24, 2013 by Cara N. Snyder
This book is super boring. I never found myself engaging with the characters at all. I really wouldn't recommend it.Published on August 22, 2013 by Megan
The book was alright. I appreciated the weird men she attracted but it just ended suddenly. Her friends were a little funnier than she was.Published on July 16, 2013 by Megan Nicole
I liked Lucinda Rosenfeld's writing, but I found the female protagonist very frustrating. Phoebe's character development didn't seem to go very far and I found it very difficult to... Read morePublished on July 12, 2013 by Amazon Customer