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Goodnight Nobody: A Novel Hardcover – September 20, 2005

3.3 out of 5 stars 279 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Goodnight Nobody is bestselling author Jennifer Weiner's attempt at writing a mystery, with a healthy dose of the author's chick lit sensibilities thrown in for good measure. While this Desperate Housewives meets Sex in the City murder mystery won't make readers shake in their Manolo Blahniks, it will provide the obligatory humor and compassion to which fans of Weiner's Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, and Little Earthquakes have grown accustomed.

Kate Klein is a feisty, charmingly insecure Connecticut housewife who trades in a life of late-night karaoke sing-a-longs and West Village brunches with her best friend Janie for a world of mini-vans and Mommy and Me pilates classes. Life in Upchurch, Connecticut, heats up when Kate discovers picture-perfect wife and mother Kitty Cavanaugh dead on the pickled maple hardwood floor of her recently remodeled kitchen. A former chronicler of celebrity gossip, Kate takes it upon herself to solve the mystery of Kitty's murder and the disappearance of Lexi Hagen-Holdt, another Upchurch supermom. Along the way, the mysteries and disappointments in Kate's personal life begin to unravel, including her marriage to the kind-yet-uptight Ben, and her unresolved crush on Evan McKenna, a former neighbor with whom a one-night tryst ended in disaster. Thrown in for comic relief, and perhaps to show the depth of Weiner's talents as a writer, are Kate's twin boys and adorably sophisticated 5-year old daughter Sophie ("Sophie was sitting on the toilet, applying lipstick and waiting her turn...").

Goodnight Nobody is chock full of plot twists and turns which can be overwhelming and superfluous. However, Weiner's charm and grace are usually enough to rescue readers from these moments of confusion, and reaffirm our commitment to this endearing contemporary voice. --Gisele Toueg

From Publishers Weekly

Chick Lit star Weiner's fourth novel, following In Her Shoes (2002), which has been adapted as a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, follows bored, upper-middle class, suburbanite mother of three Kate Klein as she becomes entangled in a local murder case. When Kate discovers the stabbed body of neighbor Kitty Cavanaugh, her pursuit of the killer gives Kate's mundane life a new sense of purpose, but her zeal puts pressure on her already wobbly marriage to Ben. She charges on, however, aided by best friend Janie, the chic, fearless daughter of a multi-millionaire. Kate soon uncovers Kitty's second life, centered on Kitty's search for her real father, entailing an investigation of several powerful men. Things are further complicated by the reappearance of Evan McKenna, Kate's unrequited love interest of the past seven years, who is a charming part-time private investigator, the exact opposite of Ben. Linked to the case through work he'd done for Kitty, Evan joins Kate on the mystery, and his seductive presence leaves her torn. While Weiner's characters are passionate, affecting and poignant, the murder mystery is less compelling. Too many false conclusions leave the reader tired by the time the real killer is revealed. The ending is also hard to believe. But Weiner's readers will root for Kate, whose humor and warmth amidst her struggles to transcend the roles of mom and wife make her a loveable, fully realized character.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Atria (September 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743470117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743470117
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (279 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Bearette24 VINE VOICE on October 25, 2005
Format: Hardcover
It pains me to say I didn't like a Jennifer Weiner novel, and it will probably get me a bunch of unhelpful votes, but so be it. I loved her first 3 books, saw her movie, and got my copy of Little Earthquakes autographed by her at a reading. So you can see, I'm a fan.

But that wasn't enough to get me through Goodnight Nobody. There are spots of bright dialogue, but the overall effect is "phoned in." The characters aren't memorable or well-developed; I didn't care about them. The protagonist, Kate Klein, is the usual Weiner "stand-in" and somewhat more developed than the other characters.

So if Kate were the main focus of the novel, it might have worked out. But no, the main focus of the novel is the dead Kitty Cavanaugh. This is problematic because we barely get to know Kitty, and since Kate writes her off as a "perfect suburban mom," we're not terribly interested either.

So there's nothing to keep you reading, unless an occasional nugget of funny dialogue is enough motivation to plow through over 300 pages. For me, it's not.

I hope her next book is chick lit, not a mystery. I am grateful that I got this one from the library.
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Format: Hardcover
Kate Klein has just relocated to the suburbs with her husband after a mugging in New York City. When she arrives in Upchurch, a Stepford-like Connecticut suburb she discovers a town full of perfectly aerobicized and coiffed stay-at-home-mommies, complete with matching diaper bags. She hasn't quite been accepted by them, but when the queen bee invites her to lunch, she's so excited, but unfortunately finds her hostess face down in her kitchen in a pool of blood, with a butcher knife in her back. Kate's boredom results in her taking a crack at solving the murder. After all, the keystone cops cannot seem to figure out a motive or any suspects. She discovers that she and Kitty had a friend in common, Evan McKenna, a NY investigator who also happens to be a former lover she hasn't seen since an embarrassing incident that caused her to from New York and into the arms of her husband Ben. Ben wants Kate to leave the sleuthing to the authorities, while Kate just wants something to do three days a week while the kids are at school. With the help of Evan and her best bud Janie (who has the best lines!), Kate discovers that all is not well in tight-knit Upchurch, and there are plenty of secrets that people want to keep buried.

"Goodnight Nobody" is a dramatic change from Weiner's regular writing style. But her excellent storytelling and funny narrative kept me hooked. She is at her best when she writes about relationships, but I felt that the two men in her life were not completely drawn out. There were far too many things left unresolved too and since Weiner does not write sequels, the reader is left to wonder.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a little confused as to why Weiner, one of the hottest writers today, felt it necessary to try her hand at a mystery. After the raucous success of "In Her Shoes," "Good In Bed," and "Little Earthquakes," I expected her to keep moving on the same vein -- and I was excited about it.

But this book doesn't make the grade set by her previous three best-sellers. The mystery is clunky, the characters annoying, and the plot disjointed. This was a strange attempt at a new genre. Let's hope Weiner returns to her familiar -- and lush -- territory and leaves the mystery writing to others.
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Format: Hardcover
Kate Klein is the true definition of a "Desperate Housewife." With three children under the age of five, a million-dollar cookie-cutter home in Upchurch, Connecticut, and a husband who's always working, Kate finds herself stuck in a life she never imagined for herself. She dreamed of being a reporter in New York City, not a mother of three in Suburbia. And she doesn't have anyone to talk to about her discontent, which makes things even worse. All the other mommies in town are enamored with their children and their homes and their husbands and their lives. Kate dresses in cargo pants and men's shirts instead of cashmere sweaters, pointy boots, and sheepskin coats; she can't host a sophisticated party to save her life; she makes jokes that aren't well-received by the Stepford mommies; she just doesn't fit in.

So imagine Kate's surprise when Kitty Cavanaugh, the most perfect mommy of them all, calls to invite her and her children over for an afternoon visit. But when Kate arrives at Kitty's red door, she finds her hostess face-down on the floor of her newly remodeled kitchen, with a butcher knife sticking out of her back. Since the suburban police are largely incompetent (of course), former celebrity gossip journalist Kate decides to conduct her own investigation into the murder. She's assisted by her spunky best friend Janie and by her first love, Evan McKenna, whose sudden reappearance into her life puts further strain on an already shaky marriage. Then Kate receives a threatening message on the hood of her car, and another suburban mommy suddenly disappears. She begins to realize she may be in over her head--and that her own life may be at stake.

GOODNIGHT NOBODY is a bit of a departure for Weiner, and not a very successful one.
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