Why she went home : a novel /

In a sequel to What She Saw. . ., appearance-conscious heroine Phoebe Fine faces more mature challenges including her mother's illness, a hostile and competitive older sister, and a moral and financial crisis involving a priceless viola. 30,000 first printing.

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Main Author: Rosenfeld, Lucinda.
Format: Book
Published:New York : Random House, ©2004.
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Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Rosenfeld's funny, sassy, uneven second novel picks up where her debut, What She Saw..., left off. Serial dater Phoebe Fine-who's pushing 30 and is fed up with men, her job and "feeling as if she had to be at the right party in possession of the right bag and shoes... the right cocktail of ebullience and ennui"-has quit Manhattan for her parents' home in suburban New Jersey. There she embarks on a new career of selling her neighbors' trash on eBay, suffers through intense sibling rivalry with her cartoonishly selfish sister and cares for her ailing mother. She also falls for Roget Mankuvsky, the new conductor of the orchestra in which her father plays oboe (readers of Rosenfeld's debut may remember him as her first love, Roger Mancuso, "The Stink Bomb King of Whitehead Middle School"). Rosenfeld nimbly sends up New York strivers and their suburban counterparts, including her heroine ("That was the time when Phoebe could say to herself, I've had sex with a multimedia artist in a converted loft on Wooster Street and it would mean something to her"). Though formerly feisty Phoebe can be a bit more pathetic than sympathetic at times (her list of reasons to live include "Not a burn victim" and "Don't live in the Third World"), her travails are often hilarious. Rosenfeld stumbles into a few easy clich?s and occasionally slips into farce, as when Phoebe gets caught going through the garbage of a classmate who's now a big-shot banker. Still, her style is witty and winning, and those who cheered Phoebe on through the dating minefields of the first novel will enjoy this chapter of her life, implausible happy ending and all. (Mar. 9) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Whiny sequel to the kvetchy What She Saw . . . (2000). A decade after her college years, Phoebe Fine is still not happy--the not-so-burning question is, Why not? Raise your hand if you care. Okay, don't. It's all the same to Phoebe, who moves back to Whitehead, New Jersey, six miles southeast of Paramus, to be with her parents, for lots of reasons. She hates her job. Her apartment is depressing. Her last relationship tanked. Therapy isn't helping. Her friends are married. She doesn't want to succeed at anything. She drinks like a fish. She doesn't want to live in New York anymore. She has nightmares about giant cockroaches. Her mother, a classical violist, has cancer. Roberta Fine uses the "c-word" to avoid talking about the "d-word," but it's clear that the older woman is gravely ill--and that auburn wig with short bangs she has to wear is so awful Phoebe just can't stand it. She can remember when her mother's long, hippie-style hair was, like, so embarrassing, and now poor old mom doesn't have any. How ironic, thinks Phoebe, who is big on solipsistic musing. And her dad is daffier than ever, an occupational hazard of professional oboists, who are said to literally blow their brains out. Being with her parents is driving her crazy. Hanging out downtown with the fabulous, the desperate, and everyone in between isn't much better, but she does have a slightly higher chance of getting laid. A swain appears: Stinky Mancuso, back from Novel #1, is alive and well and living under a Frenchified name. How uncool. An epiphany of sorts awaits: Phoebe realizes she didn't move back home to take care of her mother, she moved back home to have her mother take care of her. A non sequitur is tossed in to liven up the dragging plot: Her mother's cherished viola turns out to be a Guarneri. What does it all mean? Hard to say. Dull prose and self-absorbed heroine are just plain irritating. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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