Customer Reviews: Women About Town
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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HALL OF FAMEon August 26, 2002
This smart and witty novel hits the nail in the head when it comes to New York women's preoccupation with having a successful career. Iris Biddle and Lana Burton have one thing in common: ambition. The two Manhattanites are too caught up in their careers to make room for relationships. Especially Iris who, having experienced a painful divorce, is neither desperate nor inclined to find Soul Mate Number Two. And climbing the corporate ladder is the only thing in Lana's agenda. A theater critic that lands a job in Vanity Fair, she might as well say goodbye to love.
Women About Town is an intelligent novel about the pitfalls of being a career woman in Manhattan. New York is the perfect backdrop for this novel. This is certainly an excellent read and I highly recommend it.
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on November 10, 2003
Six months after reading this novel I still think of prim, careful Iris and her silk-covered lampshades. The novel is quiet and contained, and does something that few others do: portray the way that women interact with one another -- sometimes nicely, sometimes meanly -- in a balanced and sympathetic way. Anyone who appreciates Jane Austen's Elizabeth and Elanor or felt that a piece of the sad but surviving Mirabelle from Steve Martin's Shopgirl was inside of them would also enjoy this book.
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on May 13, 2003
I enjoyed this book quite a lot. It doesn't have much of a plot, more of a glimpse into the lives of the main characters. But Iris and Lana are very likable. I disagree with the review comparing it to Sex In The City. These women are much classier than that. This book left me wanting to read more about them. I will be on the look out for any new books by Ms. Jacobs.
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on July 21, 2003
You really have to pinch yourself to keep awake for this book. It reminds me of something they made you read in school - you know that there is a lot of stuff going on under the surface, but you don't really care, and you are left waiting for some action. I skipped over entire paragraphs with wordy descriptions of nothing. If you must read this, get it out of the library and save your money.
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on January 29, 2005
Laura Jacobs, a first-time novelist, has written a powerful piece about a pair of women who are thirty-something and unmarried. The two principal characters within "Women About Town" are Iris Biddle and Lana Burton, New York City women who aspire towards a successful career and a loving marriage.

Biddle creates Iris Originals - one-of-a-kind lampshades - a craft that barely keeps her financially afloat. She is reluctantly single after her husband suddenly vanishes to Africa via a Peace Corps mission. Burton is an up-and-coming art critic who is dating Sam - a man who flinches at any notion that brings him closer to the "M" word.

The deftly written chapters on each character leaves us wanting more and asking the proverbial question, "What happens next?" Jacobs' novel is worthy due to its ear for dialog and its ability to capture the emotions within the women's dissatisfied lives. Biddle places a bird ornament upon the Christmas tree and laments, "I'm like you, stuck in old tinsel."

Jacobs writes believably throughout the novel. However, the climax proves to be too perfect as the character's loose ends are brought together rather quickly. The ending is predictable as a box-office movie's last fifteen minutes and is not worthy for the literary writing present beforehand.

Bohdan Kot
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on January 18, 2004
Yes, it is a "quiet" book --- and, I suppose, the reader is supposed to search beneath the surface to explore the author's subtle inferences, but - why bother??? There is little by way of character development to even care about the people, the plot line was boring, and nothing was said or done that was beyond cursory. A grocery list might have been more entertaining reading. Of course, life is usually mundane, but the author fails to intrigue or even to write in a way that gives the reader new insight or allows us to draw upon our own thoughts or feelings. When I finished the book - a feeling of "so what" crossed my mind and of "ho hum." (Then I usually marvel at some publisher who actually PRINTED such a bunch of nothing fluff.) Usually I pass books along to fellow readers but this one goes directly into the Goodwill bag. Really, don't bother.
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on June 19, 2003
I had such high hopes for this book after reading several reviews, but find myself terribly disappointed. The plot is shallow (what there is of it) and the main characters are so boring, I didn't care what happened to either of them. For such a short book, there seems to be endless prose that goes nowhere. The characters dwell on every mundane aspect of their lives and you are left with the feeling that they take themselves far too seriously. The NY portrayed in this book is not the city that I know and love, although the rare glimpses that shine through are what makes it readable. Any comparison to "Sex and the City" is mere fantasy--these characters should be that interesting!
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on December 15, 2003
This is not a loud book and perhaps that is why some other reviews didn't care for it. I was taken completely by suprise and delight as I was expecting a light read in the chick-lit vein and instead got a tight little story of choosing a life of art vs commerce. How those choices effect what must give up and what is gained. It is all the small decisions one makes in the course of a day and most especally how in the quiet one can hear ones own voice in order to make the big choices. As I was recommened it to one friend I descibed it as "a real book", not that it is a tome, I read it in a few hours and wished it wouldn't end. Loved the dialogue and and how the author conveys in a few words such as "flight or nest" all the pathos of having to choose one over the other. This book is full of gems like that. Perhaps if the reader who "skips over entire paragraphs" had taken time to read it in its entirety she would have gotten more out of it. I enjoyed both the main characters and identifed with both but, loved Iris and thought her brillant. To some she was elitist, to me she is a true notch above and rather than be "fashionable" remains true to herself. I wish she were real, I would dearly love to call her a friend.
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on June 20, 2003
Women About Town is overhyped. The two main characters are Iris and Lana. Initially, every other chapter is devoted to one of them. I could barely continue reading the chapters on Iris. She is self-absorbed and elitist - not in a tragically funny way. Reading about Lana was more interesting, but she lacks real courage when it comes to her relationship with Sam, and is a passive player in the end. The climax of the book, I guess, is when Lana actually interviews Iris in, gasp, Vanity Fair - which is apparently the BEST magazine for all people in the know. When these two pretentious women meet is the climax??? Their conversation lacks integrity, tension, wit. The book is YAWN boring, the entire plotline a complete disappointment. DO NOT READ if your hopes are to laugh, or see some city women really be successful in their lives. Iris and Lana are very small, and now that I have finished the book, I realize they are inconsequential, as well.
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on August 16, 2009
"Industrious" is a very old-timey adjective to apply to the women in this witty, modern, charming novel. Still, I can't help but be impressed by the work ethic Iris and Lana have, the former with the lampshades, the latter with her arts critiques. The contrast between Lana and the sort of trendy but popular faux-journalist is esp. well done--subtle, but the point is made. The main characters approach their tasks with such dedication and elegance one has enormous respect for them, even while feeling a bit guilty for time spent watching the sub-awful TMZ or Access Hollywood. If only people on those entertainment shows really put as much time and effort into their "craft" as Iris and Lana! We'd be re-living the Golden Days of Hollywood. But I prefer the world of this novel wherein private, personal dedication to one's vision leads to a deeper satisfaction than a spot on DWTS.

While not a How To guide, certainly a good read for anyone who thinks they want to be a writer or other kind of artist.
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