Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Prospect Park West, Amy Sohn: book review

Posted by lea at 10:20 PM
I have to apologise for the brevity and vagueness of this review, but I read this book around two months ago and just haven't had the chance to blog about it. However I'm resolved to review all the books I read as part of the Great Library Challenge so I'll try to dig into the recesses of my memory and give a quick review.

Prospect Park West is about first-time moms in a particularly yuppie area of Brooklyn that seems overly populated with young at-home mothers. There's bored and sex-starved Rebecca who laments her glamorous old life, 'hasbian' Lizzie whose lesbian tendencies begin to return as her husband's work-related absences increase, freakily intense Karen who will stop at nothing to get a Prospect Park West postcode for her son, and beautiful but insecure movie star Melora, whose entire life, including her adopted child, seems to be a public relations exercise.

The story is fast-paced and laced with a dark wit that's not exactly mean-spirited, but far from kind in its portrayal of at-home mums. The characters swing between the type that's obsessed by their kids (Karen) to the mum who almost seems to fear being in the same room alone with their child (Melora), but in every case there's some type of self-destructive behaviour linked to a sense of lost personal identity stemming from the birth (or adoption) of their child.

It's a theme that appears almost despite itself, as Sohn busies herself with witty observations and poking fun at her characters. The book seems to be in a rush to end, and certain storylines are left hanging and unresolved, so there's a sense of unfinished business at the end. Apparently Sohn is writing a sequel, but I doubt I'll be coming back for seconds.

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