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Little Earthquakes: A Novel (Washington Square Press) Paperback – June 28, 2005
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Jennifer Weiner, whose novels Good in Bed and In Her Shoes earned her a place among women's book club aficionados everywhere, proves she still has the touch with Little Earthquakes, a tale of love, heartbreak, redemption, and friendship. Weiner's novel centers around four new mothers, all of whom must learn to adjust their lives and their marriages to deal with the challenges of raising children.
Ayinde is a beautiful, biracial newscaster who moves to Philadelphia after her husband, a star player for the NBA, is traded to the 76ers. She meets Becky, an overweight chef who plays the "pregnant or just fat" game every time she passes a mirror, and Kelly, an overachieving event planner who has her whole life mapped out down to the most minute details, after going into labor at a prenatal yoga class. The three become fast friends, and come to rely on each other for everything from burping techniques to intense emotional support. The group grows to include Lia, a semi-famous Hollywood starlet who leaves her husband and returns to Philly after a sudden tragedy.
While Little Earthquakes may leave little to the imagination, and some of the characters are laughably stereotypical (the Mama's boy Jewish doctor and the cheating ball player, to name a few), it is Weiner's gift for creating compelling characters with whom her readers can identify that make her such a successful storyteller. --Gisele Toueg --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Novels that shift among multiple points of view, such as this one, are often read by multiple narrators, or at least one very skilled actor. Weiner is, unfortunately, no actor, and her reading, while serviceable, doesn't do the book justice. Though her voice is pleasantly pitched, she largely eschews character voices, which is a shame since her four primary characters—sensible, sarcastic Rebecca Rothstein Rabinowitz; über-organized Kelly Day; beautiful but lonely Ayinde Towne; and brokenhearted actress Lia Frederick—are so distinctly different. The story focuses on the tremors, both big and small, that shake up each woman's life. Rebecca, the quartet's down-to-earth center, has more trouble managing her demanding, self-absorbed mother-in-law than her newborn, but meeting Lia, who's recently lost her infant son, puts things into perspective for her. Ayinde, meanwhile, must deal with her cheating pro-basketball player husband, and Kelly is forced to come to terms with the fact that the reality of being married and having a baby is much harder than she ever dreamed. This is a poignant, thoughtful look at marriage and new motherhood, but it would have been better served by a more skilled narrator.
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Also pronounced in this book is the author's dismissive attitude toward women who watch their weight. This has bothered me in other novels of hers, but even more so in this book. It is stupid to judge anyone by her weight - whether that woman is overweight or thin. Weiner repeatedly portrays the humiliations of Becky, the sympathetic, overweight character; however, she shows no such charity toward the "whippet thin" women the character obviously dislikes (just because they are thin). There are women out there who watch their weight. They are no more deserving of scorn than their larger sisters. Thinner women are portrayed as somehow lacking in the ability to enjoy food (or life) to its fullest. This "they must be eating celery" attitude is galling.
BTW, Weiner needs a new copy editor. DISinterested means unbiased. UNinterested means not interested.
I also felt that some of the plotlines were not plausible. Why would these three girls suddenly become so close so quickly just because they took a yoga class together? Also, if a woman loses her child, would she really find solace in OTHER people's children? Not only does it seem creepy that she comes across as a bit of a stalker, but I just don't buy that this is how a woman deals with this kind of pain.
Eventually the story started to drag. I began to care less and less what happened to these glum women, just the opposite of how I felt about Maggie and Rose Feller of In Her Shoes.
All four main characters are well-realized, complicated, interesting women. As they negotiate new parenthood and the various changes in self, worklife, and relationships with family and partners, the characters must find their own solutions and Weiner avoids the easy answers. While Weiner does a wonderful job capturing the mundane practical dilemmas of diapering, cell phone calls from work, mothers-in-law, and so on, she also explores the challenges of how you reconceive your own family after becoming a parent, how you reshape a partnership when you go from being a couple to being a family, and how you revise your sense of self once you're a parent.
I especially appreciate how Weiner renders her main characters' male partners in nuanced tones, even while staying firmly focused on viewing the world through the four women's experiences.
This is a book I'll be giving my brother, my close friends, and my mother, among many others. It's absolutely not just for new mothers, though that's certainly one group of people who might enjoy the book. It is a compelling read for anyone interested in well-developed characters dealing with tightly plotted storylines in a well-realized physical world. Beautifully done.
WARNING: if you find yourself lost in sadness related to losing a child, this may well be a healing book, but you should be prepared to cry.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
very capable of taking care of their...Read more