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The Heidi Chronicles Paperback – 15 Mar 2002

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 81 pages
  • Publisher: Josef Weinberger Plays (15 Mar. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822205106
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822205104
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This play has had great reviews from readers in America. Maybe it's because I'm a Brit, and missed some of the cultural echoes, but I found this very flat indeed. None of the characters appealed to me, and I didn't notice the humour others have mentioned. Overall, I won't be rushing out to see this performed, and I doubt I will read it again.
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By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 May 2005
Format: Paperback
Heidi Holland, with an Ivy League education and a Fulbright in England under her belt, is a lecturer in art history, an expert on female artists virtually unknown in their lifetimes, though their work is as good as that of the male painters who dominated their ages. Using the art history "hook" into the question of women and their roles--as they see their roles, as men see women's roles, and as women search for happiness within these roles--Wendy Wasserstein has written a thoughtful and very funny drama about the Baby Boom generation and the price its women have paid as they have searched for fulfillment.
Exploring Heidi Holland's life from the late 1960s to the 1990s, Wasserstein takes us from Heidi's high school and college days, as she grows in her thinking and view of her role in life, to her experiences with women's lib focus groups, the Eugene McCarthy campaign, the rise of AIDS, the gay movement, and ultimately Heidi's realization of what is important to her, not just professionally and philosophically, but personally and emotionally.
Wasserstein uses wit and a keen ear for dialogue to create quick, often humorous interchanges which advance the action and the feminist message without polemics. Heidi is, on the surface, a success by all external measurements, but she feels that she is missing something from her life. Professional success is not enough for her, a revelation that made this play somewhat controversial within the women's movement when it was first produced in 1988. Some feminists apparently believed Heidi's desire for emotional fulfillment through love to be a sellout to a male dominated culture.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x993cb2ac) out of 5 stars 20 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9921f0b4) out of 5 stars "I don't have a life. I'm expendable." 9 Feb. 2005
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Heidi Holland, with an Ivy League education and a Fulbright in England under her belt, is a lecturer in art history, an expert on female artists virtually unknown in their lifetimes, though their work is as good as that of the male painters who dominated their ages. Using the art history "hook" into the question of women and their roles--as they see their roles, as men see women's roles, and as women search for happiness within these roles--Wendy Wasserstein has written a thoughtful and very funny drama about the Baby Boom generation and the price its women have paid as they have searched for fulfillment.

Exploring Heidi Holland's life from the late 1960s to the 1990s, Wasserstein takes us from Heidi's high school and college days, as she grows in her thinking and view of her role in life, to her experiences with women's lib focus groups, the Eugene McCarthy campaign, the rise of AIDS, the gay movement, and ultimately Heidi's realization of what is important to her, not just professionally and philosophically, but personally and emotionally.

Wasserstein uses wit and a keen ear for dialogue to create quick, often humorous interchanges which advance the action and the feminist message without polemics. Heidi is, on the surface, a success by all external measurements, but she feels that she is missing something from her life. Professional success is not enough for her, a revelation that made this play somewhat controversial within the women's movement when it was first produced in 1988. Some feminists apparently believed Heidi's desire for emotional fulfillment through love to be a sellout to a male dominated culture.

Wasserstein emphasizes that women should be able to pursue both professional success and a personal life, however, and the rounded character of Heidi remains a nice contrast to the more strident and sometimes hostile female characters with whom she interacts on stage. Throughout the action, the play's high humor and absurdity are nicely balanced with scenes of sentiment and sorrowful revelation, and Wasserstein maintains her light touch without trivializing the issues. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1989, the play offers insights into significant social issues, gracefully presented so that they do not alienate the audience. Mary Whipple
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9921c450) out of 5 stars Stories we all know, told by a master 15 Feb. 2005
By Sarah Zucker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Wendy Wasserstein is truly a master of contemporary theater. This collection, anchored of course by "The Heidi Chronicles," attests to this fact. Although I agree with the other reviewers that plays are meant to be seen, Wasserstein is literary enough to be enjoyed just if you sit down and read it. She is brilliant without being verbose, intellectual without being cumbersome, and witty while retaining a level of respectability. Truly a treasure of American culture.

I will most address "The Heidi Chronicles." Hands down, it is my favorite play ever. Of course, you don't know me from Adam, so I will extrapolate. The character of Heidi Holland is so likable, and so compelling simply because she is so unremarkable. She is an Everywoman, which seems unappealing unless you understand how rare it is for playwrights to create an Everywoman. Playwrights typically write for men, women are usually afterthoughts in plays. I know this from experience as an actress (kindly don't hold my profession against me, we can't help our attention whoring and really we are quite intelligent as a group). In Heidi Holland, we all can find a personal truth, something that has not existed in female characters in theater. Up until very recently, they have been complete charicatures or waifish ingenues. Wendy Wasserstein revolutionized the theater, and her Pulitzer is well deserved.

Of course, one can go on and on about signifigance, but that does not necessarily make the play enjoyable. I assure you, this one most definitely is. Wasserstein has a sharp wit a la Oscar Wilde, only more natural and less affected. The characters in this play are people that I promise you, you know. Another brilliant thing which is really lost in reading it but you can pick up on if you read the stage directions is the multiple casting. It's this beautiful idea where the extraneous characters are played by the same two actresses, giving this sense that throughout your entire life, you keep seeing the same people. So very very true.

I recommend this play to theater lovers, book lovers, women, men, people, animals, anyone with the ability to understand language. You will enjoy it. Another author who you might enjoy is Binnie Kirshenbaum. She is a novelist, not a playwright, but her work seems somewhat similar to Wasserstein's. Her latest novel "An Almost Pefect Moment" is absolutely fantastic, totally compelling. Both authors deserve your time and attention. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x994f742c) out of 5 stars Plays are for performance 21 Dec. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Heidi Chronicles is a fabulous play that so many "open the door for yourself" women can relate to. However, this as well as all of Wasserstein's plays miss the point if they are only read. The true nuances in the text lend themsleves to being performed. Without seeing the play performed, you still do not have a true grasp of the story.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x993cbca8) out of 5 stars The Wendy Chronicles 8 Jun. 2012
By Lauri A Levenberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
My first foray into Wasserstein as a playwright. I've been familiar with her name and story for quite some time, but hadn't read her. So glad I did. This compilation of three Wasserstein pieces began with Uncommon Women and Others, continued with Isn't It Romantic and ended with the incredible Heidi Chronicles. Maybe the plays got better in succession or maybe I just became a more skilled Wasserstein reader as I experienced her more, I'm not sure. So much reflected women's struggles with the world and with themselves. Although I was never a 'Seven Sisters' girl, I remember those same feelings of wanting to take over the world while feeling inadequate to do much of anything. The Heidi Chronicles was a bittersweet end to the compilation, as it ends with Heidi's single-mom-adoption of a little girl and hope for the future, while the contemporary reader knows that Wasserstein herself could only enjoy her single-momness for a few years before dying of lymphoma.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x993b2e1c) out of 5 stars Chronicles of our Boomer Generation 30 Nov. 2013
By LynC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this initially because the DVD of the same name does not have closed captions and I am hard of hearing. It is a good script, but the movie doesn't follow it exactly. Wendy Wasserstein is a playwright of my generation and I like how she captures so many of the dilemmas women I know went through at the times the book covers.
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