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Prospect Park West [Hardcover]

Amy Sohn
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Sep 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416577637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416577638
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 15.6 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,248,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amy's new novel, Motherland, will be published in August 2012 by Simon & Schuster. Beyond that . . .
In 1973 Amy was born in Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan. Raised in Brooklyn Heights, Amy went on to attend Hunter College High School in Manhattan, alma mater of Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan. In 1995 Amy was graduated from Brown University, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, and with Honors.
In 1995 Amy returned to Brooklyn to pursue a career as an actress. It didn't go well, though she did appear in an episode of "Law and Order" for forty seconds, an episode for which she still receives residuals. In 1996 she became a columnist at New York Press, writing her autobiographical "Female Trouble" column, a chronicle of dating below Fourteenth Street that elicited loads of invective from readers and shamed her parents at dinner parties. This column was satirized in a cartoon by Anthony Haden-Guest that featured a blond and brunette talking, with the brunette telling the blond, "I'm the new you." This was thought to be based on Amy and Candace Bushnell, though Anthony never admitted it outright.
In 1999, Simon & Schuster published Amy's first novel, Run Catch Kiss, which has since been translated into four languages. According to the New York Times review of the book, "A little-known event that took place around the time that Richard M. Nixon was resigning as President was the birth of Amy Sohn, who has emerged as a representative of her generation." The review included the word "concomitant," "concupiscence," and "Spenglerian," three words that do not appear in the novel itself.
In 1999 Amy became a columnist at the New York Post, where she enraged management by comparing Mayor Giuliani to Hitler and writing an expose on the Yankees locker room. In 2000, Amy co-created, wrote and starred in a television show for Oxygen's "X Chromosome" animated series entitled "Avenue Amy."
In August 2001 Amy landed at New York magazine. At New York, her columns mirrored the trajectory of her life, from "Naked City" to "Mating" to "Breeding." In 2004 Simon & Schuster published her second novel, My Old Man, about a May-December relationship between a rabbinical school dropout and an aging screenwriter. It took place in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
In 2008 she became a columnist at England's Grazia magazine, where she wrote a column called "Diary of a Recessionista." The recession soon took over and the column was axed. Over the years, Amy has also written for Harper's Bazaar, Premiere, Playboy, Elle, The New York Times, and Details. She is a recipient of a reader award from Playboy called the Golden Bunny and was voted one of Park Slope's 100 most influential people. She is certain she is the only individual to have received both honors.
In 2009 Simon & Schuster published Amy's third novel, Prospect Park West, about four Park Slope mothers on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It was translated into five languages.
She has written television pilots for ABC, Fox, Lifetime and most recently, HBO and Sarah Jessica Parker, who optioned Prospect Park West. She has written two films, a Gen X Big Chill called Spin the Bottle, and a Gen X horror film called Pagans.
She grew up in Brooklyn, where she still lives today. She has a brother, five years younger. She voted for Barack Obama and raised money for him. Her favorite writers are Laurie Colwin, Hilma Wolitzer, Charles Bukowski, Nathanael West, Mary Gaitskill, and Bruce Jay Friedman. Her favorite films include Gregory's Girl, The Landlord, The Apartment, My Life as a Dog, and Together.
She had her seventh birthday party at Kramer versus Kramer but not all the children were permitted by their parents to come. As a child she was taken to the films Heartland, Splash, Heart Like a Wheel, The Magical Mystery Tour, and Mr. Hulot's Holiday and is glad about it. She thinks Wainwright elevates Apatow and not the other way around. She has strong biceps but weak abs. She is aware that her inspiration for this list was the Kevin Costner speech in Bull Durham. She has had sexual fantasies about Richard Ford and they were productive.
If she could switch careers she would be a Broadway musical theater producer or a sommelier. She dresses to the left. She believes that when it comes to hair highlights, cheap is expensive. Her favorite joke is, "What's the difference between a Jew and a Gentile? A Gentile leaves without saying goodbye and a Jew says goodbye without leaving." She also enjoys a very tasteless Katharine Hepburn joke whose punchline is, "How do you turn it off?" Her favorite candy is York Peppermint Patties and she always has a knot in the same section of her hair when she wakes up. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.
Like her at www.facebook.com/amysohn and visit her at www.amysohn.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
In her longest - if not quite her most accomplished - novel to date, fellow Brunonian Amy Sohn offers us a witty, often wickedly funny, satirical romp through the lives of four women in the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope. Hers is a well written, and rather thoughtful, excursion in that well-trodded literary genre known as "Chick Lit", but it's clearly far from routine, with four rather subtlely drawn female protagonists. For this reason alone, I wouldn't even mention it in the same breath as other, now classic, examples of this genre.

The Park Slope which Amy Sohn writes of isn't quite the one I recall growing up in the 1970s and early 1980s, as the neighborhood was undergoing a large scale exercise in urban gentrification. Moreover, many of the situations she described could well happen elsewhere in New York City, especially in Brooklyn Heights or the Upper East Side. But, much to her credit, she does a most admirable job describing and dissecting the various feminine subcultures represented by each of these women, ranging from ambitious single women to sexually repressed stay-at-home moms.

Those who have been familiar with Amy's work might agree with me that her literary triumph has to be her "My Old Man" from earlier this decade, in which she delved into the social - and especially sexual - relationships of upwardly mobile Jews in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. In my Amazon.com review of "My Old Man" I asked whether Amy was becoming our 21st Century Edith Wharton. Here, in "Prospect Park West", she has demonstrated that she is no mere clone of either Edith Wharton or Candace Bushnell.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading. 13 Mar 2010
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Last April, 2008, I reviewed Meg Wolitzer's then-new novel, The Ten Year Nap. I gave it two stars, saying it was filled with whiny, wealthy Upper East Side and Upper West Side 30-something married women, all of whom should be stood in line, slapped-upside-the-head in order, and told, "stop whining already and go back to work!". I received a few comments on the review, saying, basically, "thanks for writing what I was thinking!"

The characters in Amy Sohn's new novel are sort of the same whiny women, living in Brooklyn's trendy Park Slope area in her book, but somehow Sohn gives her characters - most of whom are as unlikable as the ones in Wolitzer's novel - more nuanced, real-life depictions. I may not have "liked" most of the characters, but I certainly cared enough to keep reading to find out what happens to them. And that, I suppose, is one sign of a well-written story.

"Prospect Park West" is not conventional "chick-lit". It's much, much better. I didn't read it thinking about what actor I supposed the author had in mind to play what character when/if the book was turned into a screenplay. That, too, is another sign of a well-written book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read! 23 Mar 2014
By Diane
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I stumbled across this book by accident when browsing Amazon and on the whole I found it to be an enjoyable read. An interesting peak into the lives of four different women living in Park Slope. Sohn gives good insight into the frustration experienced by each of the women, and the disappointment they feel about how their lives have turned out. Each of the four women is seeking something, and inevitably feel let down when their cookie cutter perfect Brooklyn lifestyle doesn't deliver the goods as promised. Although the characters border on selfish to the point of irritating, I did find this to be an addictive read, wanting to read on to find out if any of the characters were able to figure things out.

Would read this author again, as I enjoyed visiting Brooklyn in her perspective.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.5 out of 5 stars  59 reviews
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Published too quickly? 20 Oct 2009
By A. Drugay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
One part smut
One part celebrity worship
Four parts whiny mothers who resent their children
Top with a hefty dose of Brooklyn name-dropping and five too many mentions of Gawker - stir swiftly and chug. Do not linger over or savor.

In addition to all of that, there were several dropped storylines, which makes me think this book was in a rush to publish - and makes me wonder, WHY? With some character editing and story tightening, this book could have gained at least another star.

The racial paranoia felt forced, the lesbian action felt psychotic, and the beleaguered descriptions of the effects of prescription medications felt too intimate. Psycho mom Karen was my favorite, character, though. She was pretty crafty.

The smutty parts, seemingly written by a horny 16-year-old who just learned the F word, were the most entertaining ones.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This Book Bites A$$ 11 April 2011
By WonderWoman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book expecting an entertaining read. I'm a Brooklynite very familiar with Park Slope & figured many of the characters & scenarios would resonate. What a waste of the $9.99 I paid to download it to Kindle!

The main characters are written in an overwrought & shallow way that makes them completely unpleasant to read about, the name dropping gets tedious after about the 3 thousandth time, the only characters of color (Black men) are badly caricatured criminals, and Park Slope, while ripe for some good natured ribbing, comes across as a crunchy granola haven of neurotic lunatics. Who is this Amy Sohn chick & how the hell did this book get published?!

Look, I'm all for light, trashy reading. People magazine and Bossip.com are among my guilty pleasures. However, I expect my trash to be fun, witty, and well written. This book is none of those things & I was so disgusted after only a few paragraphs that I deleted it from my Kindle. Don't waste your time folks!
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A fast, trashy, addictive read, despite the boring moms 1 Dec 2009
By lazytime - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As a former resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn, I can testify that Amy Sohn has nailed it on many levels here -- I'm just not sure people without first-hand knowledge of this NYC neighborhood will care that much. It's a fun, fast, trashy read and I became a bit addicted to the book -- but I also skimmed a lot at times. Some of the characters are dull and a lot of them blur together. Not one of them is a person worth liking, which will be a problem for some readers but made it delicious anti-Slope satire for me. There's nothing more boring to me, however, than reading about some overentitled, status-obsessed mommy worrying about getting her kids into the "right" school district. But for anyone who has ever survived the Park Slope Food Coop, this book will have you cackling out loud. Very current, but the pop cultural references (and they are countless) will date this book, so read it soon or don't bother.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible! 17 Oct 2009
By J. Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This was one of the most ridiculous books I have ever read. I want my money back. I enjoy books like the Devil Wears Prada, as well as most Candace Bushnell novels; but PPW was too stupid. I felt that this was a Brooklyn poor man's version of One Fifth Ave. I was hugely disappointed because I used to read NYmagazine for Sohn's column alone. There are way too many pages devoted to characters the reader could care less about, and the writing is far from descriptive. The way the book ends is horrible. It's not just a cliff hanger, it ends mid-story. If anything, I'll say Sohn really got the Park Slope stereotypes and the "mise-en-scene" correct. I can maybe recommend this book to new yuppie mothers; because this book is just rich white mothers complaining about their privileged lives. Over it!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fight back 14 Nov 2011
By iliketowatch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is what I'm going to do. Any of the celebrities/other authors who recommended this book. Going forward I am going to reject any of their work and ignore any other recommendatuion they ever make. I recommend you do the same. That's how much I hated this paper thin, weak as water, clumsy, charicature filled, celebrity name dropping, smug, smutty, drivel, hillock of cliches. I've never done this before but I tore my copy into pieces lest anyone else have the misfortune of readng it.
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