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Henny on the Couch Paperback – March 27, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The protagonist of HENNY ON THE COUCH is a New York mother we can all identify with-bright, harried, striving, and hopeful. You want her to be your best friend. This is a book for any woman who's ever had dreams for herself or wondered what became of them."―Amy Sohn, author of Prospect Park West

"Rarely has there been a novel that has dealt quite so honestly with the issues that assail urban women today. Unflinchingly honest and devoid of self-indulgence, Henny on the Couch is a compelling, brave, and beautiful novel."―Kaylie Jones, author of Lies My Mother Never Told Me

"Soodak's first novel, about an affluent New York mom and her rocky relationship with her own mother, considers several mother-daughter parallels . . . Set against the backdrop of the Big Apple, which Kara clearly loves, the book examines Kara's life ... in writing that flows. . . [this] portrait of a privileged upper-class New York mom rings true."―Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Rebecca Land Soodak, a former psychotherapist, lives with her husband and four children in Manhattan and Litchfield County, CT. HENNY ON THE COUCH is her first novel.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: 5 Spot; Original edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446574260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446574266
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,251,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I found this book to be a really slow read. I just didn't really like the characters and it seemed to go nowhere for me. I couldn't relate to the people in the book and I just wasn't a fan of Kara's. She had everything going for her in her life, but didn't seem to appreciate it in my opinion.

This book was a disappointment to me.
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Format: Paperback
Wife, mother, and small business owner Kara Lawson lives in Manhattan with her ambitious and successful architect husband Michael and their three young children. Kara is living the seemingly enviable life of a wealthy and privileged urbanite that for all intent looks like she has it all together however beneath her polished veneer lies an extremely insecure and trite woman silently judging those around her due to her own heavy baggage.

Alternating present day with flashback scenes from two distinctive phases in her life, the reader is offered background into Kara's personality. Raised by a single alcoholic mother whose bitterness over the lost promise of a successful singing career colors her entire world and radically alters Kara's childhood. After her mother's death, Kara continues on to college. It is there that she meets Oliver Bellows, a moody promising young artist with whom Kara falls deeply in love and spends the better part of her education trying to reconcile her feelings for him with his lack of them for her. Taking up painting for the first time in college seems to be her way of attempting to forge a stronger connection to her love while whiling away the time spent waiting for him to come around.

A chance encounter with a neighborhood art gallery showcasing the work of a now famous Oliver has Kara reassessing her life and its direction. At the same time her seven year old, Henny is exhibiting concerning difficulties both at home and in school, something that Kara reluctantly attends to.

Lately, I have read a bit too much of this subset of the fiction genre. Disillusioned and unhappy women who are years into marriage and motherhood, feeling unsettled and wondering what happened to their lives?
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Kara's life in Manhattan roars at a dizzying pace. She feels she is always rushing to something--work, her children's activities, or an event with her husband. There's no time for her to think, just to do. Then, one day when she encounters paintings in a gallery from her former lover in college, she begins to question what she really feels is important as well as how she wants her future to unfold.

Henny on the Couch by Rebecca Land Soodak takes a look at how easy it is for us to go through every day in charge of the details and lose sight of the big picture we want to create with those details. Kara experiences what many moms do: she is generally happy with her life, yet she's also restless for something more. She started a successful business, but the work there doesn't make her happy. She always wonders if she's spending enough time with her children, particularly when her daughter Henny starts to have trouble in school. And her husband seems sure of where he wants to go, which is to grow his business and move the family to the West Coast, but Kara's not sure she wants to do that either. She wants to address the issue, but she doesn't know how to do that and stay married.

Underlying it all is Kara's own experience as a child, with a mother who was always disappointed that she wasn't talented enough to pursue her dream of singing professionally and drank to numb her sense of failure. When Kara meets Oliver, her old lover, again, and when her best friend makes a life change Kara doesn't approve of, she finally takes the time the think about what she really wants and how she wants her life to be going forward.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was moved to quiet tears at the end of this book yet I wanted it to go on. I know a book is really good when I don't want it to end.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characters, especially the main character, Kara's witty, complex and subtle way of seeing things. I consider myself both feminine and a feminist, but appreciated the writer's perspective on the Monica Lewinsky part. For all the analysis at that time, I have to admit I missed something that Ms Land Soodak mentioned in passing yet has relevance, like something nutrient dense we often ignore.

This is an honest book. A book that will draw you in, captivate you, and give you the feeling of escape we want from novels, but still be nourished. With thoughtful word choices, and intimate insight into the characters lives, this book interweaves an important theme for people, especially women to grapple with. Meaningful, fun and somehow not heavy, like a perfect, delicious, chocolate soufflé, after a great meal when you didn't overeat.

(Forgive the food metaphors, as a personal trainer and nutritional consultant, it's my nature.)

Henny on the Couch
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This fantastic debut novel is a great read. With a deft touch, and without losing the thread of the narrative, the author takes the reader through three stages of the main character's life, exploring how childhood and early adult experiences shape who we are in middle age and how we live our lives. This book is absorbing, funny, moving and real. Highly recommended.
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