Thursday, May 20, 2010
Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn chronicles the lives of four SAHM's in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood. Park Slope is an area in Brooklyn filled with "bourgeois bohemian breeders" - it is a socially progressive enclave just outside Manhattan filled with couples with young children in classic brownstone homes.
Prospect Park West is not all Bugaboo strollers and trips to the Park - the four Moms whose stories are each featured in the novel are grappling with much more than just what to make for dinner and when to schedule the playdates. Lizzie, mother to her biracial son Manse, is a former lesbian and in the wake of her husband's frequent absences while he tours with his band she finds herself drawn to women again. Rebecca, a freelance writer working part time, mourns the loss of her once very active sex life with husband Theo - she loves her daughter Abbie but finds herself in competition with the toddler for her husband's attention. Melora is an actress married to her husband Stuart, a film director. They live in their mansion with their son Orion and their Swedish nanny while trying to walk the line of putting themselves in the public eye and live a private life. Finally Karen, slightly neurotic mother to Darby, dedicates herself to finding the perfect apartment in a brownstone in a coveted school district despite her husband's reluctance to spend exorbitantly to get said apartment. All this takes place against the backdrop of the Park Slope Food Co-op, Prospect Park and swanky 5th Avenue in Brooklyn.
I love the snarky tone of this novel - the author pokes fun at the neighborhood and its residents. I thought it was great that Sohn offers insight into the darker side of motherhood which can be filled with doubts and ambivalence. Although the main characters' stories seem outlandish at times, there is a lot of truth that runs through each storyline which makes it relateable while also entertaining. The entertainment factor is big in the novel - a quote from author Lauren Weisberger promises "Makes Desperate Housewives look like amateur hour" and the book does not disappoint! Warning - if you are easily offended by language or graphic sex scenes, they abound in this book. All in all, an engaging beach read!
Thanks to Sarah at Simon and Schuster for providing a copy of this book for review