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London Is the Best City in America Hardcover – May 18, 2006

4.1 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Dave's winning debut, narrator Emmy Everett is a sensitive and introspective young woman who is emotionally and geographically paralyzed. Ever since ditching her sleeping fiancé in a Rhode Island motel, Emmy has lived in the quiet fishing village of Naragansett, working at a bait shop and putting together an interminable documentary on fishermen's wives. Three years pass, and her beloved big brother, Josh—funny, smart and successful—is getting married, forcing Emmy out of her self-imposed exile for a weekend in the New York City suburb of Scarsdale. With 72 hours to the wedding, Emmy finds Josh confused: does he want to marry Meryl, or be with Elizabeth, the woman he's been seeing on the side? Emmy agrees to join Josh on the eve of the wedding for a daylong trip to find Elizabeth and, hopefully, what "the right thing to do" really is. The intriguing Elizabeth, as well as the authenticity of the relationship between Emmy and Josh, make the conflict credible and involving. It's hard not to root for these vivid characters; even the heroine's high school flame, Josh's best friend Jaime Daniel Berringer, is distinctive and likable, making Emmy's interest in him contagious. Josh and Emmy's happy, exasperating parents and Josh's buoyant sister in-law-to-be round out the cast, giving readers plenty of reasons to enjoy this promising new author. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Dave's absorbing, piercing debut takes place over a weekend. Emmy Everett, who has been living in Rhode Island and working at a tackle shop since leaving her fiance three years earlier, reluctantly returns to Scarsdale, New York, for the wedding of her older brother, Josh, to his longtime girlfriend, Meryl. Emmy is shocked when Josh tells her he's been seeing another woman, Elizabeth, on the side. Elizabeth, a thirtysomething single mother with a teenage daughter, is nothing like the polished, sophisticated Meryl, but when Emmy meets her and her daughter, Grace, she realizes nothing is as clear-cut as it seems. Josh's struggle over what he wants gives Emmy insight into her own inertia and her failed relationship with Matt, whom Emmy finds she is not quite over. So much happens in Dave's wonderfully plotted first novel that it's hard to believe the events all occur in the space of a few days. Dave expertly captures the ennui and indecision many twenty- and thirtysomethings grapple with when faced with big, life-changing decisions. Kristine Huntley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (May 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670037567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670037568
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
London is the kind of book you read because the author is just that good. At its most basic form, the storyline is not terribly innovative, overall - girl is in love with boy, girl leaves boy behind, girl is faced to revisit and analyze her decision some years later in order to grow beyond where and what she is. An earlier customer review stated "the book's message seems to be: you've got to make choices, and they must be realistic...what a surprise." The unexpected part of all this, though, is that the author has taken a template of so many relationships, so many lives, and crafted a way to tell you a story that you very well may already know - and yet don't want to miss a word. She talks to you, in a friend's voice, inviting you to participate in the journeys of these characters to which she has gifted life.

Put simply, you will *feel* when you read this. It's the kind of stuff that makes you smile and smirk and cry - sometimes really cry - and close your eyes after passages. The type of prose that you want to re-read out loud to someone else, sort of like sharing song lyrics that resonate. The type that's both personal and communal. Soon after I started, I found that I could only comfortably read it at home because I couldn't be honest enough anywhere else to really experience it the way that I unconsciously, unwillingly, inevitably did, every time.

Ms. Dave's art puts the reader in a place of self-reflection - striking a most impressive balance of suspending one's own reality while simultaneously discovering it. She has the ability to accurately detail the unspoken, unchartered territory of one's heart and give the reader an experience that is unexpected but hoped for all the while.
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Format: Hardcover
My girlfriend passed me this book after she stayed up into the morning reading it. It appeared to be targeted at women, but I loved it and raced thru it almost as quickly as my girlfriend had. This author is fully committed to her voice in a way that I haven't read in a while. Reading her is a kind of cozy, old-times feeling like hanging out with your high school best friend many years later.

The story is actually more about the narrator's brother than the narrator herself -- a welcome surprise for this male reader. But a welcome surprise also because this isn't some kind of story about a woman so self-involved that she can't see the world around her. Emmy, the narrator, adores her brother and, only through her very genuine but complicated love of her brother, does she begin to see her own issues.

Also, the writing is incredibly funny. Highly recommended for men and women.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Considering the fact that this book has been in Amazon's "bargain bin" for a while, and that I only found the synopsis mildly intriguing, I was SHOCKED to find that this is one of the best novels I have read in a very long time!

No question about it, what makes this book so great are the characters - the story is technically rather slow-moving, and not terribly complex, taking place over one weekend. However, you will never notice or care about the pace of the plot because you will be so enthralled with the characters. Even the less likeable ones are still loveable and humorous in their own way. Every character in the novel is presented as a very "whole" human, with flaws and talents, reasons to love them and reasons to hate them; it is this completeness that endears them to you so much. You find yourself struggling along with the main character, constantly wishing for opposing outcomes to the story, because you want everyone to end up happy. The authenticity of the relationships and personalities in this novel are what make it shine. Nothing else needs to be said, you must see for yourself - do not miss out on reading this great novel!

Grade: A
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Format: Hardcover
Dave's book is funny, and real, and sad in the best ways imaginable -- you will feel for this family of characters, appreciate your mom, be reminded of all the hard questions about life and love, and wish, more than anything, for your own happy ending. A+ !!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a hard book for me to review. First, Ms. Dave is an absolutely fantastic writer. Her story flows and her word choices are exceptional. For that: 5 stars. However, there were problems in other areas. In the first place, I didn't like any of the characters except the parents. When I was this age, I was filled with enthusiasm, wanting to do stuff, get on with life. Perhaps 20-somethings are different all these years later but I could find nothing to admire about a young woman who gave up 3 years of her life to ruminate or her older brother at 30 who made no decision other than the one to cheat on his long-time fiancee. Self-indulgent, they drifted through life not caring about anyone else. These are the most boring and least admirable main characters I've ever read about. That's a 1-star. Then, Ms. Dave would begin a narrative section which sounded as if the POV character were going to come up with an incredibly deep insight, but she never did. Usually it made no sense at all. Another 1 star. Why didn't the editor say, "Let's make this a little more coherent"? And, last, there were SO MANY stories about their family that I wanted to throw the book at the wall. I didn't--again, because of Ms. Dave's marvelous writing--but I didn't know if I could stand hearing about their childhoods one more time. All I can say is Berringer and Elizabeth--RUN! So, if I total and come up with an average, that would 8 divided by 4 = 2 but I'm going to round that up to 3 stars because the writing is excellent.
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