The Room-Mating Season (Mira) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Apr 2004
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A fantastic new romance by Rona Jaffe. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
The Room Mating Season introduces us to four (4) young ladies who venture from different parts of the United States to work in New York City where they imagine life will be great fun.
Let me introduce you to Leigh the perfectionist and casting director; Cady the vivacious and resilient school teacher; Vanessa, the 'always on the move and full of fun' stewardess, and finally Susan the mousy and quiet receptionist who never fits into the group no matter what.
In Ms. Jaffe's new novel, we live with the girls from the time they start out as young girls in their early twenties, and experience all their joys, the ups and downs with the men in their lives, along with the struggle for their identities. We are with them as they ease into their adult years which becomes challenging and extremely traumatic. And again through their marriages, even as they pass midle-age and run right into their sixties, where by now they have acquired children and grandchildren.
It was a delightful read with a great diversity in characters you won't forget in a hurry. This book would be an ideal Birthday gift. I recommend it and gave it five stars.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The theme of the book is friendship and how they were there for each other through highs and lows. The characters may not understood the decisions some of the decisions that were made but regardless, they were always there for each other. I really enjoy this book because it was written very well, very thoughtful and just mesmerizing. Rona Jaffe also tried to chronicle the lives and mentalities of women in each of the decades starting from the sixties. At the end of the book, you would feel that you really know each of the characters and feel for them. This is not a chick lit book but definitely one written for the female audience. I highly recommend this book.
This in itself would have made a great novel. However, Jaffe takes us through these women's lives beyond the time spent in their rented brownstone. The decades fly by and there are so many unanswered questions that it's difficult to sympathize or really grasp what has happened in the lives of the characters. I would have liked to have known more about the intricacies and less about the broad pictures that Jaffe chooses to present.
There are pages and pages of seemingly unimportant information, and then...poof! Readers are hit at the end with a startling revelation that isn't really resolved, but is instead hurried into an ending.
All in all, this was a disappointment for me. However, I always enjoy Jaffe's perspective on changing women's roles, especially the sociological aspects of the early years of feminism. This novel would have been better had she stuck to this idea.
I guess I would have liked to have understood Vanessa better. She was such an enigma to me. How does a person become so empty? Cady, whom I felt was pitiful, was much better fleshed out. Leigh's life was too perfect for much space to be devoted to.
I'm not a fan of adultery, but I believe Ms. Jaffe was trying to make a point that some married men really do divorce their wives, while others string girlfriends along as long as they are allowed to.
But yes, I did enjoy this book.
Unfortunately, The Room-Mating Season is neither a good story nor does it have compelling characters.
By reading the synopsis, it seems that the book is about 4 girls coming of age in New York City in the early 60's and continuing with their lives through present day (a great premise). Actually, it is really about 3 of the women and one male friend. I found the lead female character, Cady Fineman, so pathetically needy, so filled with jealousy, so immature and unlikeable, that every time a chapter started about Cady, I wanted to skip it.
What amazed me about all of the women in this book is how they so blithely had affairs with married men - and not only were they married men, but they were also much, much older married men (20 years older than the girls). It seems to me like Rona Jaffe has a fixation with older men and younger women. (And thinking back to "The Fame Game" it was also about a much older man having affairs with very young women.) Does she have a father/daughter complex?
With the exception of Leigh, the most stable woman in the group, the other characters do not mature or grow wiser with age. They mourn the loss of their youth because they are not beautiful or desirable to men anymore. Cady ends up desperately trying to pick up younger men to have sex with and Vanessa, because she is no longer desirable to strangers in bars, decides to have an affair with the one man in her life who has always loved her (even though she has the depth of a pickle chip).
This book is so lightweight, it could fly away on a balloon.
This book can be read over the course of a weekend and if I had read this book as a 16 year old, I probably would have liked it. More mature readers however, will probably be disappointed.
Cady - very annoying, jealous of her friends, and can't live without being incredibly needy. Dates and falls nutso for a married guy, Paul. She enters a LONG relationship with this one and her life passes her by.
Leigh - good at heart, I wanted to believe but then again fell for a married man.
Vanessa - ok but needed to keep having flings to see if she still had it. Please!!!
Susan - ultra freak. You just need to read this book to find out more.
Charlie - fifth wheel? He has some kind of secret..wait till you find out!