Top positive review
I understand the negative reviews, but this is a well-done character study of upper class tension - I liked it
January 25, 2018
This is the kind of book that would def. get polarizing reviews like are up here right now - a few two-stars and a few four-stars. I get it. Some readers are not going to like a story where the conflict is pretty subdued and the stakes are not that high. It's an undercurrent of rich-white-people ennui and I'll be the first to say those stories can often find me disinterested.
But I liked this. Because the protagonist, Nora, was flawed - but also motivated and intelligent - I could accept her decisions and choices and not get annoyed as a reader. She was a well-constructed character who felt real, with high stakes within her world. A lot of times with these types of stories the main character ends up being overwrought, or behaving erratically and it seems silly and that was not the case here.
Some of the other characters do come across a little one-dimensional - the men are all status-seeking wanna-bes in the competitive NYC world, and they often seem a little more annoying than real-life people always are, but at least they were amusingly annoying. And there were enough well-drawn supporting characters to balance it out.
The plot is fairly simple - it's a collection of stresses to a well-heeled dead-end street in Manhattan (I Googled some, and I got a feel for what this would look like) and the kind of tight-knit neighborhood that depends on a razor's edge of everything going according to plan...which it does, and then it doesn't. I feel like this gave a window to an NYC life - nannys, dedicated handymen, that most of us can't relate too.
It's certainly a "rich people's problems" novel - but not super rich. Rich enough to exist, but not rich enough to make their own way entirely.
A lot does happen - but it's slow-building and never that tense. It's the ennui of life and the little things go on just outside your vision, and then all of sudden they're right in front of you. You have to deal with them, and that changes everything else. That's what happens here.
I liked it - the bad reviews are not wrong, but this is the kind of book that will appeal to a certain kind of reader and those who need constant drama and a lot of clear-cut action probably won't appreciate it as much, and that's fine. I liked it though. Once I settled in, I read pretty quick to see how it all turned out and that's how I know a book worked for me.