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The Ivy Chronicles Paperback – January 31, 2006
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Karen Quinn's The Ivy Chronicles is the amusing story of what happens when a New Yorker loses her job, her husband, and her ritzy Park Avenue pad and is forced to carve out a new niche for herself and her two private school-educated daughters. After transferring the girls to public school and renting a shabby-chic (at best) flat upstairs from a knicherie, Ivy Ames takes her billionaire friend Faith's advice and starts a consulting business to help privileged pre-schoolers get into the city's premier kindergartens. Light on substance yet heavy on laughs, Quinn does a reasonably successful job of following in the well-heeled footsteps of earlier gossip lit standouts such as The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada.
While Ivy's moral quandaries (is it really wrong to accept an alligator-skin Prada in exchange for securing a child's placement at a top "Baby Ivy") and often raunchy romances form the basis for this exposé, it is the toddlers' family stories that get the most laughs along the way. From Maria Kutcher, whose mob boss father is often referred to as "Kutcher the Butcher" to Winnie Weiner, a "nice Jewish girl from the Upper West Side" who becomes the African-American WaShaunte Washington in order to snag a "diversity" spot at the top schools, Quinn spares no one when it comes to exposing the habits of the rich and almost-famous. Yet even as Ivy begins to see the error of her snobbish ways, Quinn never quite lets her off the hook completely ("...it was such a relief to have a powerful man to lean on. Why couldn't I have one of my very own? Why?"). Still, for those of us who are in need of a quick laugh and have a few hours to spare, The Ivy Chronicles promises to entertain and amuse. --Gisele Toueg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
When 39-year-old Ivy Ames loses her corporate job, her big-shot husband, Cadman, cheats on her and she's too poor for her pampered Upper East Side lifestyle, she finds herself creating a new life for herself and her two young daughters on New York's exponentially less tony Lower East Side. Ivy hammers out a living helping the city's elite nab spots in the most exclusive private kindergartens in town, but first-time author Quinn's book isn't a feel-good tale about realizing money isn't everything. Even as Ivy comes to understand that her former life among the ultra-rich was absurd and shallow at best, she continues to hope that she'll snag a new husband so rich that she'll never have to work again. Quinn's characters are unapologetically shallow, two-dimensional cartoons designed to affably lampoon the silliness of New York's elite, giving readers ample opportunity to snicker at people like a newspaper mogul willing to pay off the FDA to get her demon child into a "baby Ivy" league kindergarten and other wealthy, overly successful parents who use their kids to channel ambition and perpetuate elitism. It's good fun in small doses, but lengthy exposure to the cotton candy plot and caricaturish characters may leave readers with the zombie-like feeling produced by watching too many reality TV makeovers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The plot of "The Ivy Chronicles" is certainly more unique than that of most chick lit novels, and kept me turning pages until the end. However, i think it might have been easier to follow for the reader if the main character, Ivy, had taken on fewer clients. It got rather difficult to keep track of all seven sets of parents and children, as well as the myriad of other characters in the book. Several pivotal moments of the book hinge on purely coincidental incidents, which, while they are funny and may add some unexpectedness to the story, they make the novel feel unrealistic, and fantastical.
The final few chapters of the novel felt odd, as though the author suddenly remembered that she had a romantic storyline to bring to a close in about 50 pages, which she had greatly neglected throughout the rest of the book. Due to this hurried feeling, the romance factor of the book seemed false, and fell flat.
It's a funny novel, but not nearly as funny as i had hoped. The characters are thinly-drawn, with hardly any depth, so the funny parts of the book also lack depth.
While it was entertaining enough for me to finish, it was not good enough for me to recommend to others. I will still give the author a chance on her next book though, and hope that perhaps she has learned her craft a little better.