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The Romantics Paperback – July 21, 2009

3.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In film producer Niederhoffer's wan second novel (following A Taxonomy of Barnacles), a love triangle takes center stage among an amorous group of nine Yale friends known to each other as The Romantics. As the group reunites for the marriage of Lila Hayes and Tom McDevon at a Maine estate six years after graduation, Niederhoffer omnisciently narrates the rivalry between wealthy blonde Lila and raven-haired Laura, her maid of honor and former roommate—the Nick to Lila's Gatsby. Laura and Tom dated early on in college, and their continuing relationship haunts Tom and Lila's over the ensuing years, which naturally causes friction. After the rehearsal dinner, the entire wedding party, minus Lila, embarks on a raucous evening of drinking and reminiscing. Neither the characters nor the story convince as Niederhoffer repeats thin stereotypes in a vain attempt to strengthen the plot: Laura the ethnic outsider; Tom the complex man yearning for an uncomplicated relationship; Lila the uncomplicated beauty with all of the necessary social accoutrements. The rest of the cast serves as background noise in this forgettable postcollegiate exercise. (July)
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.

From Booklist

Niederhoffer’s nuanced, piercing follow-up to her debut, A Taxonomy of Barnacles (2005), focuses on a group of college friends reuniting for a wedding. Now in their late twenties, all of the friends have paired off together save for Laura Rosen. The bride, Lila Hayes, is Laura’s former roommate and best friend, and the groom, Tom McDevon, is the ex-boyfriend she’s still very much in love with. As the weekend progresses, Niederhoffer gracefully unveils little details about the friends: Laura and Tom had an affair behind Lila’s back after college. Lila’s brother Chip is in love with Laura. Their other six friends are hiding various ambitions and attractions. When the friends, minus Lila who is prepping for her big day, set out on a late-night, drunken trip on a raft and end up losing Tom in a swim back to shore, they pair up and set off to look for him, which leads to some surprising revelations. An involving, tightly woven tale with fascinating characters. --Kristine Huntley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (July 21, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312428847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312428846
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,845,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
with the cast of "The Big Chill". I didn't much care for Niederhoffer's first novel, "A Taxonomy of Barnacles". In fact, I didn't finish it (rare for me, actually). Her writing was just way too "precious". It's as if she was trying to channel the "Royal Tenenbaums" and it just didn't work.

This novel, her second, is much better. Not "5 star" better, but at least readable. The same cast of rich WASPs who populated the wedding family of the "Philadelphia Story" are here, complete with domineering mother, bratty little sister (called here "Minnow" - oh, don't you just love the nicknames the rich give each other?)and marginalised father. The bride, whether named "Tracy" or "Lila", is the same blond goddess we've seen before and will see again.

The supporting players of the wedding, the "wedding party" is made up of "Big Chill" extras. While Niederhoffer tries to give the three groomsmen and the three bridesmaids some individual identities for the reader to respond to, I'm afraid all six just sorta merge into one big pile of late 20's Yalies.

The two "stars" of the book are Laura, the maid of honor, who has had an off-and-on relationship with Tom, the groom-to-be since college 10 years earlier. Tom had basically flitted from Laura to Lila, back and forth over a ten year period, and now, has found himself marrying Lila. Not for any good reason, it seems, because he has always loved Laura. Laura and Lila have also been "best friends" for this period, not best friends who truly love each other, but best friends competing for the same man, so they have to keep each other in clear sight.

This book is pretty good, and it's not long, so if you're so inclined, dear reader, go to it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book after seeing the movie on TV a few months ago. To be honest, I had never even heard of the movie, even though there are some well known names in it. The movie interested me, but I really felt like there was a lot I was missing. I decided to search for the book and found it here on Amazon. I am so glad I bought this book. As with most movies, there is simply no way to convey everything that you can with a book. Then ending of the book is far more clear, and everything before it just makes more sense in print. You get a far greater sense of the thoughts, motivations, and feelings of these characters.
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Format: Hardcover
Terrible. I wanted to see the movie, so I bought the book to read first, but the book annoyed and bored me so much I no longer care about seeing the movie. As a general rule, I try to finish bad books in case something redeeming surfaces toward the end, so I finished this one despite wanting desperately for it to be over from the first page. I'm so bored just thinking about it that I can barely muster this review, but I want to warn you all. It's shallow, contrived, annoying, cliche-ridden and sodden with tired similes and metaphors. I spent more time rolling my eyes than reading. Completely forgettable.
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This was an interesting book to read, but I imagine it would only appeal to a certain kind of reader. More of a character study than a story, with what story there is being very cliche and predictable, there's not much to move the reader forward. That said, I do want to give credit where credit is due. What Neiderhoffer lacks in his story, he makes up for with his love for his characters. Each character is beautifully described--their histories, motivations, fears, reactions, eccentricities are so rich that the reader feels as if she's part of the group; that she's grown up and gone to college with them. I was able to both love and despise them at the same time, the same way they all simultaneously love and despise each other. If you're a people watcher, the kind of person who likes the beginning "get to know you" part of movies best, or loves finding online the biographies of your favorite public figures then this might be the book for you. If not, I recommend you skip it.
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I saw the movie before I found out that it was based on a book. The movie had big stars in it and I wanted to see if the book was better. Well the book was ok just like the movie. The book is trying to hold the reader's attention by giving the old best friend competing all the time n who will win the guy at the end. Just like the movie n the book u have to think out why does the groom pick one girl over the other. I debated over whether it should be 3 stars or 4. It's more 3.5
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a typical romantic novel, but a tad more infuriating than most. The writing has a certain fluid style, though drags a bit as the author attempts to give backstory on each character. The dynamics between characters is pretty great; the author does a fanatstic job of fleshing out the motivations of competitive women and repressed men alike. Don't expect "Gone with the Wind" when you read this, expect more of a Judy Blume leaning.
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I was really excited to read this book because I saw the movie previews and for me, it was nice to be able to give faces to the characters that you were going to read about.
The book however was soooooo slow moving. The main characters struggles with her being Jewish and dark haired and trying to find a comfortable place in the Wasp society is sometimes so annoying that I found myself having to put the book down, or skip the pity party.
The relationships between the characters are so tangled that it gets difficult to keep up with who kissed who, who slept with who and etc etc.
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