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Why She Went Home: A Novel Hardcover – March 2, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (March 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400061857
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400061853
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,012,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rosenfeld's funny, sassy, uneven second novel picks up where her debut, What She Saw..., left off. Serial dater Phoebe Fine-who's pushing 30 and is fed up with men, her job and "feeling as if she had to be at the right party in possession of the right bag and shoes... the right cocktail of ebullience and ennui" has quit Manhattan for her parents' home in suburban New Jersey. There she embarks on a new career of selling her neighbors' trash on eBay, suffers through intense sibling rivalry with her cartoonishly selfish sister and cares for her ailing mother. She also falls for Roget Mankuvsky, the new conductor of the orchestra in which her father plays oboe (readers of Rosenfeld's debut may remember him as her first love, Roger Mancuso, "The Stink Bomb King of Whitehead Middle School"). Rosenfeld nimbly sends up New York strivers and their suburban counterparts, including her heroine ("That was the time when Phoebe could say to herself, I've had sex with a multimedia artist in a converted loft on Wooster Street and it would mean something to her"). Though formerly feisty Phoebe can be a bit more pathetic than sympathetic at times (her list of reasons to live include "Not a burn victim" and "Don't live in the Third World"), her travails are often hilarious. Rosenfeld stumbles into a few easy cliches and occasionally slips into farce, as when Phoebe gets caught going through the garbage of a classmate who's now a big-shot banker. Still, her style is witty and winning, and those who cheered Phoebe on through the dating minefields of the first novel will enjoy this chapter of her life, implausible happy ending and all.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Readers familiar with observant, quirky Phoebe Fine from Rosenfeld's debut novel, What She Saw In . . . (2000), will be delighted to see her return in this captivating follow-up. Phoebe is on the cusp of 30, somewhat disgruntled that she is no closer to being settled than she was in her early 20s. Having lost yet another job (gainful employment just doesn't agree with Phoebe), she finds herself moving back to her parents' New Jersey home. Just because she is in a bit of a funk doesn't mean Phoebe is sitting idly by; she decides to plunder the trash of town residents, looking for treasures to sell on eBay. She also bickers with her elder sister, Emily, who has also arrived, fresh from her failed marriage, at the Fine family home. And Phoebe even finds time to squeeze in a romance with brusque, off-putting orchestra conductor Roget Mankuvsky. The joy of reading about Phoebe's madcap adventures comes as much from her wry observations as from what she actually does. Twenty- and thirtysomethings experiencing the same ennui as Phoebe will relate to her struggles in this charming, often hilarious novel. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "bugaboo222" on April 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is slightly better than the author's first but that's not saying much. The narrator is a privileged self-involved twit and the story is superficial and dull. It also could've used a good weed-whacking...is at least 100 pages too long. Where have all the editors gone? The clever packaging of books like this can't make up for their fundamental mediocrity. Save your money!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kristen VINE VOICE on October 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Normally I cannot stand overly neurotic characters, but there's just something so likeable about Phoebe Fine and her aging musician parents that keeps me reading and laughing. Think of Anastasia Krupnik all grown up and you'll get Phoebe Fine.

Phoebe's life is going nowhere in the Big Apple, so she returns to suburban New Jersey and its shopping center landscape to put the pieces back together. Her mother has cancer, their house is falling apart, and even her "perfect" sister Emily seems to be losing some of her polish.

Throw in some fake Eastern Europeans, a broken viola, an old elementary school crush, and a really lousy first date, and this novel somehow comes together. I think my favorite character might actually be Jorge, Emily's South American Jewish lawyer husband and his awkward English.

Rosenfeld's prose isn't always pretty, but her characters are unique and a blast to read. And by all means, before moving back home, read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Goranson on September 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
One could complain that this book offers too many coincidences (like the Dickens novel it mentions). One could complain about, say, the copyediting (e.g., the missing word on page 230). But Phoebe Fine knows complaints, already, being something of a virtuoso in that department. Though not only a complainer, but a mirror of kaleidoscopic emotions and observations, with occasional surprise that they are apparently her own. I quite enjoyed Phoebe's story (I missed the first volume). Thanks, Lucinda.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By "dixielola" on April 30, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of Phoebe Fine. It was a breath of fresh air in an era when the majority of the books chronicling women in my age group (late 20's, early 30's) focus exclusively on sex, shopping and other frivolous matters. Also, those with an interst in classical music will enjoy the little jabs at the idosyncratic world of symphony orchestras.
A great, easy read with surprising depth and keen insight into relationships, both familial and romantic.
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By Bookworm on November 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
I typically prefer a novel with some substance, but I enjoyed reading this book for some reason. The story is really quite lame, yet I found I had a little trouble putting it down. It's the type of book I like for a plane ride or to bring to the beach.
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By Emma Cavanaugh on September 27, 2006
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. It was a change from the fluffy chick-lit type. It was refreshing to see a woman have a date that wasn't so perfect. A lot of chick-lit female characters find the perfect mate. It was nice to have a female character who didn't meet the perfect guy who is strong, handsome, ambitious and rich considering that all men aren't.

There were other areas that are similar to other chick-lit books - being unemployed and having difficulty in getting on with family members, but in this regard all books are different.

After reading so many chick-lit books that were very similar this was a bit of a change and I hope another sequel comes out. Plus you didn't have to read the first book (What She Saw) to understand "Why she went home", even though characters re-occur.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Krispysoda on September 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book was so boring and infuriating that I skimmed through about 100 pages and read the last few chapters, just so I could see how it ended. Why Phoebe would ever keep dating Roget is beyond me- he was pompous, rude, annoying and cheap. Even though she can't stand him she apparently keeps dating him because she has the self esteem of a doormat. I skimmed the book to see when she would dump him and was so disgusted when that didn't happen. This book has it's humorous moments, but they are so few and far between that it is not worth reading.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
You won't stop laughing or turning the pages. Rosenfeld gets it all exactly right. I'll follow Pheobe Fine to the end. THIS IS NOT CHICK LIT. It is a page-turner that hits all the right notes!!!!!!!
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