Read The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine Online


Betty Weissmann has just been dumped by her husband of forty-eight years. Exiled from her elegant New York apartment by her husband's mistress, she and her two middle-aged daughters, Miranda and Annie, regroup in a run-down Westport, Connecticut, beach cottage. In Schine's playful and devoted homage to Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility," the impulsive sister is Miranda,Betty Weissmann has just been dumped by her husband of forty-eight years. Exiled from her elegant New York apartment by her husband's mistress, she and her two middle-aged daughters, Miranda and Annie, regroup in a run-down Westport, Connecticut, beach cottage. In Schine's playful and devoted homage to Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility," the impulsive sister is Miranda, a literary agent entangled in a series of scandals, and the more pragmatic sister is Annie, a library director, who feels compelled to move in and watch over her capricious mother and sister. Schine's witty, wonderful novel" ""is simply full of "pleasure" the pleasure of reading, the pleasure of Austen, and the pleasure that the characters so rightly and humorously pursue....An absolute triumph" ("The Cleveland Plain Dealer")....

Title : The Three Weissmanns of Westport
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780374299040
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 295 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Three Weissmanns of Westport Reviews

  • Elisa M
    2019-02-17 15:31

    I could only get halfway through this book. I found that I didn't care about the characters at all, and the plot was not exactly riveting either. Parts of it are funny, especially the way that Betty refers to herself as a widow and her (soon-to-be-ex) husband as dead ("may his soul rest in peace"). It wasn't enough to keep me going.

  • Malena Watrous
    2019-01-26 10:25

    What I love about this book is (to use an Austen catchphrase) the author's sensibility, comic and divine. The same subject--an older woman abandoned and badly treated by her husband of half a century, left to make do with her middle aged and maladjusted daughters--could have been treated as a tragedy. But Schine sees the frailty and self-deceptions in all of her characters, and she manages to smile upon them nonetheless, or because of their all too human (and all too familiar) weaknesses. She's wickedly perceptive, too. One of the very middle aged daughters, spotting a handsome younger man, reflects, "It was difficult to imagine a young man being so very much younger when you could never quite see yourself as old." I'm already there, I'm afraid. On the same page, when she spots the exact man she wants to see, Schine deals with the unlikely coincidence with this brilliant and hilarious explanation: "Somehow, she knew he would be there. She couldn't have told you how, and like so many premonitions, this one could so easily have not been true, in which case she would have forgotten that she ever had a premonition. But she did have one, and it was sure and accurate: she was a sybil, a prophetess, a seer..." Gently mocking lines like these made the endless comparisons to Austen apt, and had me cackling with glee. I only shaved off one star because I found the book a little slow as a whole, in spite of the pleasures to be had page by page. I particularly like how she delves into the minds of all of the characters. Everyone gets the same treatment of partial illumination (they think they know themselves better than they do) and loving mockery.

  • Beverly
    2019-01-31 11:15

    This book suffers from being overpraised in the New York Tmes (by the dull garden writer Dominique Browning). It also suffers from Schine's use of Sense and Sensibility for her plot. Even though Sense and Sensibility is the weakest of Jane Austen's five major novels (not counting Northanger Abbey), it makes a lot more sense than this book does. In Austen's world social order was established through marriage. Here in Schine's the romances of middle aged and elderly people are of consequence only to themselves, creating more of a solipsism than a social commentary. The library where Annie works is a clue to how meaningless this world is - it is a useless museum of rare books kept up by rich people with literary pretensions. So is Schine purposely poking fun at her readers? The lazy and careless use she makes of Austen's plot and point of view (in contrast to Austen's careful control)does suggest contempt for her characters and perhaps her audience as well.

  • Lnaimark
    2019-02-10 16:39

    Picked this book up at the Nashville airport for my trip back to San Jose. It does work as an "airplane book" but I found myself continually being annoyed by the characters. The amazingly self-centered father Joseph, his manipulative new girlfriend Felicity, the "wronged" mother, Betty, and her two daughters. Betty gets banished to a shack in Connecticut and gets every single penny of her funds cut off, while Joseph and Felicity get to stay in the fantastic apartment on Central Park West. And no one raises holy hell? They've been married for five decades and he cuts off every penny??? Totally didn't make sense. The younger daughter has public (on Oprah!) embarrassment over her lying clients, but never quite recovers---except when she's sleeping with a guy 20 years younger. Her way of dealing with her bankruptcy and shane is to harass her colleagues on the phone. The older daughter, Annie, chides her mother and sister over spending too much money---but somehow she always seems to have enough from her librarian salary to cover expensive suits and "I just had to buy it" $200 bracelets that her mother buys.Also unbelievable: Felicity's brother Frederick is a possible love interest for Annie, and she has no idea he is Felicity's brother. In fact, it takes them an inordinate amount of time to find out about Felicity. Later in the book, Frederick gets involved with a 22-year-old "home sitter" that Annie meets while visiting Cousin Lou and Rosalyn in Palm Springs. Really????Most unbelievable is that they would all three agree to leave New York and live in the beach shack.I did love the owner of the beach shack - Cousin Lou - whose hospitality seemed to know no bounds. Cousin Lou's wife, Rosalyn, and Rosalyn's dementia-stricken father, Mr. Shpuntov were great comic relief. In fact, they were the only funny thing in this book. I never ever saw humor or "sense and sensibility" in the main characters. Also, it seems that something call "forensic accounting" saves the day, but we're not really told what that is. This book got me most of the way back to San Jose, but how it got a great review in the NYT is beyond me.

  • Melissa
    2019-01-19 17:38

    You should never pay attention to a blurb that reads, "...homage to Jane Austen." It will invariably set you up for a big letdown. Because the truth is, nothing is as good as Jane Austen.In short: Modern day Upper West Side AARP husband, dumps dutiful wife for younger, VP from his company. Dumped wife moves with two aging daughters to a cottage in Connecticut while divorce is finalized. Wife, daughters meet a hodgepodge of characters; advanced aged daughters constantly whine about the state of their professional and personal lives; and it all unravels at the end into a random, confusing, weird mess.The only reason I gave this two stars was the first 40-50 pages were quite witty – to the point I actually guffawed out loud a few times. But the farther I read, the more I was reminded on living on Long Island – which happened to be the WORST two years of my life (except for the WORST two years I spent in Provo). It was a collection of a bunch of whiny New York elitists who have nothing better to do, while the author was trying to make it resemble a modern, East Coast version of Sense and Sensibility.This book was rated as a New York Times Notable Book – notably unpleasant maybe.Probably not the worst book I’ve ever read, but do yourself a favor – watch Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet instead.

  • Nicholas
    2019-02-11 11:29

    I read the fantastic review of The Three Weissmanns in the NYTimes Book Review a couple weeks ago. I've read Cathleen Schine before (The Evolution of Jane) and was not thrilled. But this review was stellar and made it sound like it was totally up my alley. And it was. Schine is really quite funny in The Three Weissmanns, especially in her characterizations of the protagonists, Betty Weissmann in particular. There is something about the way that Betty engages with the world without having caught up with it in the last twenty years that makes for real comedy. But Schine is also poignant as well, about Betty's impending divorce (she is 75) and about the somewhat less-than-anticipated lives of the other two Weissmanns, her daughters Annie and Miranda. In her depictions of the Weissmanns' social milieu she reminded me of a 21st-century Jewish American Jane Austen and in her ability to mix real humor with pathos, she was not unlike Elinor Lipman. And this is high praise, because I love Austen and Lipman. There are also a whole host of fantastic supporting characters: watch out for Amber and Crystal, especially.

  • Jenny(hades2) (Chocolate Chunky Munkie)
    2019-01-29 17:13

    This novel really failed on all levels for me. The blurb on the back of the book held such promise and I was really looking forward to getting my teeth into it. The first page was really exciting, but from then on it suddenly all went downhill for me. I failed to find a connection with the three main leading ladies Betty (Mother), Miranda (Daughter) and Annie (Daughter). They had traits which I found both annoying and nauseating; this spoiled the whole book for me. I felt very unsympathetic towards them.At times I really felt like giving up on this book, but I persevered. I now wonder why, the ending was flaccid and I was sorely disappointed. The story never really took off. Modern days take of Sense and Sensibility that doesn’t quite make the grade. A good book for reading groups who want to make a comparison between the two books.Will I be reading anymore books by this author, I very much doubt it!

  • Bonnie Brody
    2019-02-10 10:37

    This is a very intelligent, poignant, and hilarious book that has parallels to Jane Austen's 'Sense and Sensibility'. Whether or not the reader is familiar with Austen, this is a book to love and relish. It is a thinker's book and a reader's book, a book written by an author who respects her readers' intelligence and knowledge of culture.The book begins when Josie, 78 years old, tells his 75 year old wife, Betty, that he wants a divorce. They have been married for over 40 years. You guessed it - there's a younger woman in the picture. Josie has raised Betty's daughters, Annie and Miranda. She was married once before and widowed when her two daughters were very young. Annie is a librarian, serious and often fearful and protective. Miranda is the histrionic one, given to flights of love and fancy. As the story begins, Betty is thrown out of her upper West Side apartment and invites her two daughters to live with her in a 'cozy' cottage in Westport, CT that Cousin Lou has offered her. She wears black, preferring to act like a widow rather than an "irrelevant" divorcee.Miranda is on the verge of bankruptcy and is being sued by various publishers. Her literary agency has represented what she calls 'awful authors', authors who lied about their lives and Miranda has sold these stories to publishers such as Knopf. She's even appeared on Oprah to explain the situation. (Does this sound like Nan Talese to anyone else? Remember the memoir, A Million Little Pieces by James Frey?) As Miranda says, "My whole career was built on cheesy lurid tragedy. Cheesy lurid tragedy that turned out to be fake cheesy lurid tragedy." Annie is trying to raise two sons on her own and money is really tight for her. She figures that if she were to sublet her apartment and move in with her mother and Miranda in Westport, the three of them could use the sublet money and survive financially. Thus begins the story of the three women and their lives and loves in Westport.There are many cultural and artistic references in the book. Schine references Shakespeare and Dickens as easily as she does D.H. Lawrence and Rex Stout. She talks about Keith Haring and Richard Serra. The Brontes and Erskine Caldwell get some airtime as well. What is so delicious is that she expects the reader to be along with her on the ride. Do we know who The Rat Pack is? What about Orlando Bloom or Jake Gyllenhall? Are we familiar with Skype and Costco? E.B. White and Alex Katz also join the crowd. It's such a fun group and this is only the tip of the iceberg. If one is perspicacious enough, other artists, authors, and writers will speak up to you in these pages.I thoroughly enjoyed this book. At times, I belly laughed and at other times, I had tears. It's a book to cherish for the long haul and a wonderfully rare treat. It is a fantastic romp through our culture.

  • Book Concierge
    2019-01-25 12:15

    Book on CD narrated by Hillary Huber3.5***Betty Weissmann is seventy-five when her seventy-eight-year-old husband, Joseph, announces he wants a divorce. Of course, he’ll be generous; he has loved Betty and her two girls from a previous marriage for over forty years, and he wants to do right by them. But his mistress, Felicity, has other plans for the elegant West-side apartment, and Betty is evicted from her only home with little notice. Her cousin Lou comes to the rescue, offering her his beach-side cottage in Westport. So, Betty and her two middle-aged daughters, Annie and Miranda, move in together and try to make sense of this new life.This is a charming re-telling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (my personal favorite Austen novel). I had great fun trying to match Schine’s characters with Austen’s, and trying to figure out how certain plot elements might play out. Despite my familiarity with the original, Schine surprised me more than once. I was immediately caught up in Betty’s story, and these characters seemed very real and recognizable to me. Their situation was both funny and poignant. There were times when I laughed out loud, or groaned in sympathy. I loved Betty; she went from confused and frustrated, to steely-spined and self-sufficient. Annie was the typical oldest child, taking charge and trying her best to “fix” what was wrong, while ignoring her own emotional needs. She presents a strong, calm façade, but does her crying in private. Miranda … well … she’s the “Marianne” character here, and I wanted to throttle her several times. Still, she is a sympathetic character despite (or perhaps because of) her flaws. Hillary Huber shines in her performance of the audio book. She has the timing and tone to perfectly deliver this comedy of manners, and, as a skilled voice artist, she is able to differentiate the large cast of characters.

  • Ellie
    2019-01-22 12:11

    The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine is just about a perfect book. It begins with Betty Weissman, 76, and her husband, Josie (short for Joseph) in their upper West Side apartment. Josie tells Betty he wants a divorce. Soon Betty and her two middle-aged daughters, Annie (single mother of two grown sons) and Miranda (book agent recently ruined when two of her authors are discovered to have invented their memoirs) find themselves clinging together on a lifeboat in the guise of a small ("cozy") cottage owned by their generous Cousin Lou.We follow the trials of our three unlikely heroines in their quest for love and/or financial security. They may struggle with loneliness but their lives-and this book-teem with the lives of others. Scheme has created a rich world, culturally resonant while simultaneously ringing true for many women in 21st century America. How do we live when life seems to have become increasingly improvisational? And, at the same time how do we deal with the very traditional issues of love, loss, betrayal, and aging? In this story, it seems with emotional storms, perseverance, exasperation, humor, and, above all love.Schine's writing is clear and vivid, her story moving. I loved this book. I recommend it, even if you're not middle-aged or from the upper Upper West Side. It's a wonderful novel.

  • Judith
    2019-02-15 11:26

    A modern day version of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility", absolutely delightful read. I could identify with all of the characters: the mother, whose husband decides at the ripe old age of 75 that he wants a younger wife, after 50 years of happy marriage; the 2 daughters, who are both on the cusp of being past their "sell-by" dates; and all the delightfully colorful characters who populate this book. Though it's mostly tongue-in-cheek funny, there are some very sad parts to the book, including the following description of older women, which struck my heart like a spear. " He had seen a hundred such women, a thousand. They flocked to his readings, to the workshops and classes he sometimes taught. They were an identifiable class of citizens, America's lost souls, like the lost boys of Africa, but they were not boys, they were women, older women, still beautiful in their older way, still vibrant in their older way, with their beauty and vibrancy suddenly accosted by the one thing beauty and vibrancy cannot withstand-irrelevance." ARGH! Am I ready for the red-hat ladies' club?

  • Ginny_1807
    2019-02-10 15:34

    Drammone al femminile in odore di soap, che, per ragioni diverse, coinvolge un terzetto di mature signore della buona società newyorkese, la madre e due figlie sulla cinquantina, in un patetico esodo dalla città al fine di dare una svolta alla propria vita e in una macchinosa serie di escursioni amorose nelle direzioni più disparate e infauste. L’idea del divorzio tardivo dei genitori mi era sembrata interessante, ma mi hanno infastidito il clima artificiosamente spensierato, il tono frivolo dei dialoghi e l’assurdità di certe situazioni, più appropriate ad adolescenti ingenue che a donne ormai più che adulte. Anche la schiera di personaggi che affianca le protagoniste non è esente da una banalità stereotipata che alla lunga annoia, e l’ironia che la scrittrice vorrebbe adottare per descrivere lo sviluppo degli eventi finisce talora per sfociare nell’insulso o nel grottesco. Soltanto alcune pagine, specie nella parte finale, sfuggono alla mediocrità ed è per questo che il giudizio non è completamente negativo.

  • Susan
    2019-01-28 12:31

    I vacillated between giving this novel two or three stars. I do think that I expected more from this book after reading reviews on the book flap and from book sellers, and I generally enjoy character-driven narratives. Sure, I sympathized somewhat with Betty, the 75 year old woman who is dumped by her 78 year old husband for a younger woman (how cliched) and forced to move from a life of luxury to one quite different, and her two daughters, each with her own baggage. However, I was disappointed with this read, and I couldn't help but feel that the plot was too derivative, the characters too annoying, and the ending too pat. A psychologist or psychiatrist would have a great time analyzing the characters, and I suspect book group discussions will have also much to discuss, but Schine's novel just did not float my boat (speaking of cliches!).

  • Linda Marie Marsh
    2019-02-15 14:16

    Betty's husband has moved on to greener pastures after manyyyyy years of marriage. She has declared herself to be a widow, and, forced to leave her luxurious NY City apt., she moves into a cottage that belongs to a cousin in Westport. Her 2 adult daughters join her , both having upheaval in their own lives. This is not quick, light, beach read. Part kinda literature comedic drama?My favorite part of the whole thing was the development of the characters.... (cousin Lou shines)So....sure. Go ahead and give it a whirl. I honestly can not say it is a must read tho....and it makes me sad to say so.

  • Joanna
    2019-02-05 15:24

    I read this book on a recommendation from my mom. She billed it as a modernized Sense and Sensibility, with a very different twist at the end. I felt like Sense and Sensibility would be a very difficult Austen novel to modernize - would we not, now, just demand explanations from the vanishing suitors? Do people still have secret engagements? I did not know.But this novel comes off surprisingly fresh, which is not an easy thing in the oversaturated Austen niche market. I liked that the author aged all of the women to their fifties. Being penniless in your twenties these days is more expected than frightening, but making the sisters older and in financial distress lent the story more resonance.It is also interesting to see an Austen story play out in a world of modern sexual mores. The 'Edward' character is lured into an engagement because he has unwisely had sex with (and allegedly impregnated) his house sitter. And yet, the fact that he once slept with the 'Elinor' character is one of the ways in which she knows that her feelings for him were returned, at least in part.Some of the characters transfer very well from the original Austen novel. Felicity is a spot on update of Fanny. Cousin Lou is a wonderful incarnation of Sir John Middleton and Kit Maybank is as unscrupulous a rake as Willoughby ever was. Betty, as the matriarch of the family, has a larger role but stays true to type. And the modern day Brandon, a semi-retired lawyer named Roberts, is very nicely done indeed.Overall, the characters are extremely faithful to their archetypes, even while the ending of the book diverges wildly from the original. I love that the 'Marianne' character falls in love with and decides to marry a woman. And I am willing to accept that in this version, an Annie and Roberts pairing makes more sense than an Elinor-Brandon match would have in the original. Having Annie eventually reject Frederick after all his ridiculous drama seems a bit of a feminist victory. I think the ending is where the book really succeeds in telling its own version of a clasic story.

  • Bobby
    2019-02-06 18:40

    I have to admit there were many pages within the covers of this book that I considered not worth reading, yet as a whole it was a decent read. The beginning of the novel captured me as I read about the woman who I believed would be a central character, a woman whose husband of 48 years was divorcing to be with a younger woman. The writing was enigmatic, drawing the reader in to feel the same confusion as this woman and drawn to her wholly. Alas, since this was a modernization of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" in come the daughters who need to be presented as vulnerable as their mother. This is where the novel falls off. The same characterization, so strongly applied to the development of the mother, never occurs for the daughters. Each is described as the reader is to perceive them, but the richness of language usage by the author is absent and the actions of the women, for they are women not girls, never rings true to the ongoing descriptions of what the reader is supposed to perceive. The daughters are to be successful women, one near and one in her 50's, with crisis of their own. As a woman of that age myself, I believe that the premise is strong, but it falters quickly and never regains promise.On the other hand, the novel does succeed in it's impetus to be a modernization of Austen's novel in it's characterization of a society yet unfair to women and of men, who make foolish mistakes, hurting themselves and others. I think this aspect kept me reading and gave the book value. I think that the author was quite successful in designing a situation where you want to hate the man, but cannot. This character, like the wife he is divorcing, is well developed as a man who is not facing himself or the truths of his actions, let alone the suffering he causes. I also find his other woman to be a perfect modernization of her match in Austen.Many may enjoy this novel, especially if you like modernization of classics. For me, however, the promise of the first chapter did not prove itself, and I found myself minimally interested and sometimes disappointed at times as I read the novel.

  • Maxine
    2019-02-16 16:13

    The beginning of this novel is really the end of sorts. Joe, asks his wife of 48 years, Betty, for a divorce. He cites irreconcilable differences. Betty says, “Irreconcilable differences? What does that have to do with divorce?” The rose colored glasses are off and we are shocked and upset with Betty. How can this be?While trying to be a gentleman, Joe, on the advice of his lawyers, has cancelled all his wife’s credit cards and suggests she leave their upper scale apartment. This irreconcilable difference is beginning to rear her ugly head.Mourning her new life and longing for the old, Betty accepts an invitation from cousin Lou to stay in an empty cottage in Westport, Connecticut. She does not go alone, her two middle-aged daughters with a host of issues of their own tag along. Will these three single Weissmann’s find comfort in looking after each other?A member of my book club recommended this novel to me and I enjoyed it. The beginning was witty and entertaining. I found Betty’s decision to ‘mourn’ the loss of Joe amusing. In fact, I thought Betty would turn into this wonderful adversary for Vivacity or Capacity…whatever her name is. However, this character seemed to fizzle out. I did not understand Frederick Barrow. Did I feel sorry for him or did I just not care? Was this grown man really such a push over and don’t get me started on his daughter. All in all the variety of eccentrics we meet to tell the story are superficial spoiled brats. I would have liked to know more about Roberts, Barrow, Annie, Joe and Felicity. The surface was merely scratched; I wanted to dig deeper. While I did get a few giggles the subject matter is a sad one. Too often we say, shoulda, coulda, woulda or why? I had much to ponder trying to answer these questions.

  • JoAnn
    2019-02-02 18:15

    Modern adaptations of classic novels seem to be everywhere lately and The Three Weissmanns of Westport, inspired by Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, is one of the best I've come across. It's nearly as smart and witty as Jane herself, plus it's teeming with literary references.I snapped it up (for only $1.50) at the library book sale last summer for two reasons. First and foremost, I love Jane Austen. Second, in the late 80's I lived near Westport, CT and was drawn to the setting. I was not disappointed on either account - Schine's novel would make Jane proud and it perfectly captures Westport, too. I nodded in recognition at traffic references on Old Post Road, the rapidly redeveloping beachfront, and the general description of Fairfield County's suburban lifestyle. I certainly got more than got my money's worth here!The Three Weissmanns of Westport is the type of intelligent beach read I find myself craving each summer. Let me emphasize that the novel absolutely stands on it own. You do not need to be familiar with Sense and Sensibility in order to enjoy it.However, I would recommend at least watching a movie adaptation (either before or after) to get a true sense of the novel's cleverness. It's been at least ten years since I read Sense and Sensibility, so recollected only the broadest plot details. I watched the old BBC adaptation a few days after finishing and it really added to my appreciation of what Schine has accomplished. It also made me want to reread Sense and Sensibility.

  • Sheila DeChantal
    2019-01-22 10:18

    The Three Weissmann’s Of Westport is a book I pulled off my shelf for our recent trip to Mexico. It looked like just the type of read I would enjoy while sitting at the pool. I was right. The book I found right from the start shocking, a 78 year old man after spending more than 50 years of his life with a woman decides to throw it all away for a younger, prettier, and quite honestly…. gold digger. I found myself flying through the pages waiting for Joseph to come to his senses.Does he?Well…. I can not tell you that. I can say the ending was not as I had thought it would be. It left me thinking. That’s not a bad thing.This book has been compared to a modern day Sense and Sensibility. I will let you be the judge of that. Over all a pleasant enough read. The characters are not always likable, the story line at times is frustrating, and still…. there is something about the Weissmann’s.Beach read worthy? Yes.For my full review:

  • Kassandra
    2019-01-19 10:30

    Oh boy...I really wanted to like this one. It came highly recommended to me but it was a total miss for me. I wish I was able to abandon books, I would have let this one go long before I made it to the 50th page. Unfortunately I can't so I had to slog through it and it was tough going. It was as though Schine created a promising story with some mediocre characters and then realized halfway through that she couldn't salvage the characters. Instead of going back to the drawing board, she flipped their situations on their heads, hoping to distract the reader from the character flaws with trendy topics and cliches. A very disappointing read for me.

  • Kelly
    2019-02-07 10:27

    Okay, so I really liked the part where one of the characters described the feeling of being on Connecticut commuter trains (lovely and true), and the freaked out New Yorkers' reactions when they come to "the country". Oooh, so accurate. The rest irritated me. I reap my just rewards for ignorning Elizabeth's review.

  • Delia Franklin
    2019-01-27 16:24

    I enjoyed this book. I liked the fact the characters were thrown together under extraordinary circumstances in their lives, and the characters themselves were amusing and likeable. The story was pretty good, too; it had structure and a satisfying conclusion. The writing style was pleasing and all in all, this book was a good, girly (but not frothy) read.

  • Perkimom
    2019-01-23 10:37

    This was a fun romp--a hoot, involving families, particularly the women in families--as they discover each other again in adulthood in unfamiliar surroundings and circumstances.

  • Beth
    2019-02-04 14:25

    Surprised myself by really liking this book...the author has such a "calm writing style" which contrasts well with the chaos her characters are experiencing.

  • Georgiana 1792
    2019-02-05 12:40

    Tutto da capo: un titolo a doppia valenzaIl titolo italiano dello spin-off di Ragione e Sentimento scritto da Cathleen Schine mi sembra particolarmente azzeccato, perché non solo richiama la trama del romanzo, alludendo alle tre Weissmann che devono ricominciare una nuova vita a Westport, ma sta anche ad evidenziare la ciclicità della vita, il ripetersi ancora e ancora di situazioni analoghe, dove cambiano i nomi, i personaggi e le relazioni fra loro, ma in realtà la storia continua a ripetersi, ed Annie e Miranda si troveranno in circostanze analoghe a quelle vissute da Elinor e Marianne duecento anni prima. Come tutti i romanzi di Jane Austen erano specchio della società del tempo, degli svaghi e delle consuetudini dell’alta borghesia all’inizio dell’Ottocento, analogamente la Schine ci mostra la società dei nostri giorni, con l’età notevolmente proiettata in avanti, grazie alla più alta aspettativa di vita, dove una quarantenne, considerata decrepita da Marianne, è ancora una donna giovane. Londra di Ragione e Sentimento diventa Palm Springs, dove i pensionati si trasferiscono ritrovandosi per la stagione invernale. I personaggi della Schine sono notevoli, con Annie/Elinor attenta ai conti di casa e alle questioni pratiche, Betty/Mrs Dashwood, che fino a quel momento non si è dovuta preoccupare di niente, ed ora non sa da che parte incominciare, e si ostina a considerarsi vedova per non dover riflettere sul male che il marito le ha fatto. In realtà Betty è l’unica che riesce a rassegnarsi all’inesorabile trascorrere del tempo e ad invecchiare con stile. Il personaggio di Miranda/Marianne è meraviglioso per la sua complessità: convinta che il mondo sia come lei lo vede, vive in una realtà tutta sua, restando un’adolescente di 49 anni. Per questo motivo, qualunque Willoughby di passaggio riesce a prenderla in giro e a manovrarla, abbindolandola; ciò le accade anche sul lavoro: la bancarotta è inevitabile! Il rapporto fra Betty e le sue figlie è talmente protettivo e possessivo da lasciare stupefatti. È vero che ogni genitore considera i propri figli sempre dei bambini, ma Betty è addirittura ridicola, soprattutto con il suo atteggiamento da mamma-chioccia nei confronti di Miranda. Nella sua ricostruzione della trama di Ragione e Sentimento la Schine mantiene lo stesso spirito ironico di Jane Austen che, nel suo caso, sfocia talvolta nel grottesco, con personaggi che risultano quasi macchiette su un sottofondo amaramente reale. In Tutto da capo le citazioni a romanzi famosi sono innumerevoli. Fra gli altri spiccano i riferimenti a Manderley e a Mrs Danvers da Rebecca la prima moglie di Daphne du Maurier e a Mr Mole e Mr Toad di Toad Hall da Il vento nei salici di Kenneth Graham, ma splendido è l’omaggio al romanzo ‘madre’, di cui non si menzionano, com’è ovvio, la trama o i personaggi, ma solo la copia della prima edizione americana.Al suo staff diceva che stava cercando oggetti rari, e in effetti trovò una lettera sbiadita di George Washington in una cornice di vetro rotto e il primo dei due volumi della prima edizione americana di Ragione e Sentimento. Tutto sommato, nonostante la trama segua più o meno fedelmente quella del romanzo di Jane Austen, questo romanzo parla di tutt’altro: parla della terza età, dell’invecchiare con stile, senza essere ridicoli, di rassegnarsi allo scorrere del tempo maturando, perché non si può rimanere per sempre adolescenti, quando si è madri, padri, nonni! Ed il finale… beh, il finale è quello che Mrs Schine avrebbe voluto per Ragione e Sentimento, in linea con i tempi, ovviamente. Perché se è vero che si ripete sempre Tutto da capo, non sempre le cose vanno a finire allo stesso modo.Puoi leggere le recensioni delle Lizzies QUI:http://ildiariodellelizzies.blogspot....

  • Ann Bissell Luke
    2019-01-18 13:30

    I think in general, people like reading books about themselves, or like if you are upper class, or upper middle class and Jewish (which I am not) and living in Westchester or Fairfield County you will probably relate to this book. It reads like a conversation...something you might overhear at the "club". I found it to be a tonic of a book. I loved it! But I have just spent the last 20+ years in Rye Brook, NY around a lot of Weisssmanns!

  • Bridget
    2019-02-06 13:24

    This was another book that I had read reviews about, and thought might be fun to read. I found a copy at the library, and snapped it up off the shelf before anyone else could get it!The characters in the title are a mother and her two grown daughters, all of whom move to a cousin's house on the beach in Westport, Connecticut when various things start to go wrong in their lives. The book starts when Betty Weismann learns that her husband Joseph has plans to divorce her and marry his younger assistant. Betty and Joseph have been married for 50 years, and at first, Betty doesn't believe what she is hearing. But soon enough, it's all too clear that Joseph is in fact ending the marriage. While things are being straightened out, she is forced to leave her New York City apartment and take refuge in a house owned by a cousin who swoops in to help at just the right time. Her daughter Miranda, who had been a very successful literary agent, sees her business fall apart when one of her authors admits to making up the information in his memoir. The other daughter, Annie, is a librarian who is drowning in debt, and is coming close to losing her apartment. She sublets it and heads to Westport as well, to join her mother and younger sister to be sure that someone "responsible" is there with them.The book covers a year in their lives, and reveals each character's hopes, dreams, and flaws. The cast of supporting characters are very well-drawn, and for the most part, believable. There are some very funny parts, but in the end, the book is rather sad, in the sense of evoking a what-could-have-been feeling. The characters of Joseph and his new wife Felicity, are not as well-developed and as a result, Joseph seems like a wuss and Felicity like a golddigger. Which may be the point, but I wished a couple of times that I could have some clue as to why they acted the way they did.Overall, I enjoyed the book, and found aspects of the story to be sadly played out in real life for too many people.

  • Patty
    2019-02-06 14:11

    This novel is being hailed as a modern day interpretation of Sense and Sensibility. The book is about a women who after almost 50 years of marriage finds out her husband is having an affair, and wants her to move out of their home in Central Park West, NYC, while divorce proceedings take place. He is seventy eight and she is seventy five. ?REALLY? After almost 50 years he states that there are irreconcilable differences and he wants to move on. Okay, I can't even imagine after almost 50 years of marriage someone deciding to dump their wife to the curb and get a new pretty one. Gross and pathetic! But wait it gets worse, as the story goes on he cuts off all financial help to his wife, she doesn't even have a credit card to buy essentials. Betty had married Joseph after her first husband died, and Joseph took full responsibility and care for her two children, Annie and Miranda, ages four and one. Betty has a cousin Lou who offers her a cottage on his property to stay at in Westport, on Compo Beach, and she takes him up on his offer, remembering what a nice cottage is was. "Cottage. Such a charming word. She imagined rose-patterned wallpaper. She would take long, lonely walks by the sea. It was only Long Island Sound, not the sea, really, but there were sure to be gray windy days nevertheless. She stared out the window at the night the yellow pool of a streetlight puffing out of the darkness here and there, a taxi's red taillights just visible, then gone. Could Joseph really mean for her to abandon her life, just as he had abandoned her? Well, then. What did she have to lose? It was all gone already." Betty's two daughters are going to be coming with her to stay at the cottage and they have problems of their own. So, here is Betty in her 70's and her two girls in their 50's, and they are all going to stay at this charming cottage for a time. But when they get to the cottage, it is nothing more than a shack.This story is very sad at times, but also very comical and engaging. It has a nice twist at the end that I enjoyed.

  • Susan
    2019-01-27 15:15

    Cathleen Schine bases her didactic and entertaining novel THE EVOLUTION OF JANE (1998) on the precious and fruitful conceit, that the contours of friendship and differentiation of young girls follow Darwin's theory of evolution. Or is it the other way around, that Darwin's observations of flora and fauna on the Galapagos can be understood in terms of young friendship? That the novel is successful means that the metaphor cuts both ways. The story of Jane's engagement with and estrangement from her cousin Martha unfolds when by chance Jane's mother sends her on a cruise of the Galapagos that happens to be led by Martha. The narrator Jane uncomfortably ruminates below on possible reasons why Martha dropped her when they were young teenagers. At the same time, we learn, via Jane's experiences with Darwin's theories and observations of speciation in the Galapagos, that young friendship stems from homology and peradventure; the twin-like girls were brought together initially by chance circumstances, when the young Martha galloped up (pun intended, I'm sure) to Jane one fine summer day. Speciation occurs along borders, which is why the equatorial Galapagos islands, and the synecdochal cruise ship Huxley, named for Darwin's bulldog, are chock-full of evolutionary oddities. Although Schine can be merely entertaining when she displays her precocious New York wit, her youthful narrative manner suits the matter of friendship among the very young and reconciliation among the slightly mature. This is fiction. My own Galapagos tour probably will not enable me to understand my emotional history; but if I mine THE EVOLUTION OF JANE for its reading list my own tour cannot fail to be instructive and fun.

  • L.
    2019-01-21 13:37

    I had no expectations for the book, I simply picked it up as something to keep me entertained as I sat in a waiting room. I chose to ignore the blurbs about Jane Austen, because I knew if I latched onto that I'd just end up disappointed. It wasn't offensive, and was not exactly a waste of time, but at the end, I felt no more attached to the characters than I did when I originally picked it up. The first 50 pages were entertaining and had potential, it deteriorated from there. I found myself not only finding little attachment to the characters, but began to loathe some of them, even the ones that were written to be likable got obnoxious. They are rich socialite brats with little concept of money, people skills,or how the world works for those of us that aren't blue bloods. I couldn't help stopping a few times and wondering how on earth they were affording things when only one held a job and the rest had frozen assets; is it really possible to adopt that blase an attitude towards that much debt? Throwing in a few quips about Costo and Wal-Mart does not a sympathetic character make. I kept waiting for a revelation or for something to happen, however it dragged on like divorces do and dragged the reader along for the whole miserable ride. The end was rushed and badly explained, something about a magical forensic accountant saving the day, though it was completely muddled. It became a predictable comedy of errors that I only finished because of determination and lack of better books on hand to read. It wasn't the worst thing I've ever read, but I don't feel bad donating it to the local book sale.