Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn

As I was walking to the checkout desk in the library, I noticed this on a shelf.

I've never been to Park Slope or Prospect Park. But I've heard of the area, haven't we all? The place where people like to take strollers into bars -- because all babies deserve to be exposed to alcohol! Weird. Also, I know of a guy who got married, moved to Park Slope and disappeared. He was a bit of a jerk, and a liar, so it amuses me greatly to picture him, overweight and sloppy (he sort of already was) walking through the park with his frumpy wife, pushing a stroller with a screaming, messy kid in it -- just like the people in this book.

I thought this book was hilarious. It's about four women, all mothers living near Prospect Park. They're obsessed with their addresses, and more importantly, their school zones. There's Karen, the crazy mom who puts knee pads on her kid before he plays on the playground because, you know, children should never have skinned knees. (Parents like this are why kids are so messed up -- I'm a teacher, I've seen the damage first hand.) She's obsessed with finding property in the "right" school zone and she's trying to get pregnant again. She's also stalking one of the celebrities on the block.

Melora was a child star, now married to a handsome Australian actor and raising their adopted child. She's also a drug addict, and struggling to hold onto her career, and not all that interested in being a mom. And yet, I probably liked her a bit more than some of the other women in this story.

Lizzie was a lesbian -- a hasbian is what she calls herself -- until she married a guy in a band. He's always on the road, leaving her alone with their son. She's not as status conscious as the other moms and doesn't seem to fit in with the crowd at the playground. But she's so happy when she thinks she meets a normal mom - Rebbecca.

Rebbecca hasn't had sex since her one and half year old daughter was born, and that's pretty much all she thinks about. She's so self absorbed. Her husband won't go near her because she's mean and insanely jealous of the attention he gives their daughter. She's a horrible person and gets worse as the book continues.

These women are all messed up in some way. There's women are pathetic and damaged. But reading about their troubles was amusing to me. In fact, it gives me a sense of superiority to read this and be so very glad that I don't have their problems.

I liked the book. Granted, it's not great literature, but it was entertaining. I got through the book quickly, not wanting to put it down at night. As I described it to someone, I equate reading things like this to watching Real Housewives on Bravo. I know it's wrong, but they make me laugh. Sometimes, it's okay to indulge in our guilty pleasures.

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