Monday, March 14, 2011

The Three Weissmans of Westport--Cathleen Schine

I'm getting tired of Jane Austen homage novels, particularly ones that try to rework Sense and Sensibility. This is the second one I've read recently and I haven't liked either of them. Jane Austen mixups generally work a bit better for the YA crowd, since lack of power and self agency due to age is roughly equivalent to the lack of power women held during the early 1800s. Once one realizes how lucky one has it as a modern American women, it's hard not to want to shake characters who are just dumb or annoying.

Betty Weissman is unceremoniously evicted from the marital home, a Park Avenue apartment, when her husband of 48 years takes up with a younger woman. A relative offers her a home in a slightly winterized home in the summer colony of Westport, and her two daughters, Miranda and Annie, join her. Each has money and career troubles. Miranda is an agent whose clients have been found to have imagined their memoirs and is in bankruptcy, and Annie is bleeding money to cover life in New York and launch her own sons. She's also somewhat in love with a celebrity author (who happens to be the brother of the mistress).

Miranda is the Marianne, of course, all doing, and not thinking, and she manages to fall for an actor visiting the area. Or is it that she's more in love with his young son? Annie spends her time mooning and thinking and not doing, and is generally very annoying. The fellow she's in love with is dumb as a box of rocks. Their mom is at least mourning the loss of her marriage, although she's also completely ignoring the fact that she's getting hosed in the divorce. And then a man saves them! Sheesh. This was an annoying read that I bought based on the New York TImes' love for it. Bad choice.

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