Twelve Rooms with a View Paperback – 29 Jul 2011
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Praise for ‘Three Girls and their Brother’:
‘Both dark and comic’
‘Rebeck shines…her insiders look at the theatre world is spot on and uproarious…crackling satire and scene stealing secondaries carry the book’
US Publishers Weekly
‘Playwright Rebeck’s first novel is a wickedly enjoyable exposé of modern celebrity…Rebeck’s dramatic skills are evident in the youthful, often profane voices…A timely and entertaining modern morality tale.’
‘“Three Girls and their Brother” is a brilliant fiction debut. Rebeck weaves such an atmosphere of excitement and turmoil. I felt genuinely close to these characters – all three sisters and their brother. The insider’s look at the life of young models and the way instant success can upend everything resonates in hilarious and heart-breaking ways. I found it impossible to put this book down.” Carol Goodman, Author of ‘The Lake of Dead Languages’
Praise for Theresa Rebeck:
'Theresa Rebeck is so slick that Gucci wears her shoes.' New Yorker
About the Author
Theresa Rebeck is an American stage, screen, television, and radio writer. She was born in Ohio and graduated from Cincinnati's Ursuline Academy in 1976. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame in 1980, and followed that with three degrees from Brandeis University: an MA in 1983, a M.F.A. in 1986, and a Ph.D. in Victorian era melodrama, awarded in 1989.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In this book, the property is actually a property - a Manhattan apartment with twelve rooms and a view of Central Park. An old woman dies, and Tina, Lucy, and Alison are her adult children. Their mother inherited the apartment from her husband and followed him in death closely - she didn't have a will. Legal challenges potentially ensue and Tina is left to camp out.
At first her vigil is interesting - meeting the neighbors was kind of fun, but the visit lost some of its flavor when I was about a third of the way through the book. At this point I skipped to the end and begin to skim the last few chapters to find out the conclusion. I felt like I missed very little, which probably doesn't speak too well of the book's middle third.
Disclosure: My review was based on winning on ARC copy from the Publisher.
That's the main and obvious "story."
But the second, and "real," story is the relationships within the family and the various siblings' relationships with each other and their deceased parents. As well as the relationships between the two families fighting for control. And everyone else (many) who also want the apartment.
The other reviewers are correct. In general, the characters display some pretty negative behavior. But to say they are all unlikeable? We weren't reading the same book. There were a lot of humans with real human failings and several who managed, despite being damaged, to show some real love, affection and caring for others. I don't know, but I don't think you have to like everyone in a book for it to hold meaning or interest for you.
The "main" character of Tina had certainly made some poor choices in her personal life compared to her otherwise "successful" sisters. But she actually made far more choices that showed how much she genuinely cared for others and doing what was "right" in terms of the apartment. As did another major male character.
The story is basically about choices and redemption, and what spurs it within us, albeit using a very big focal point--an apartment to die for (literally).
I suppose some people cannot relate to the shenanigans and double-dealing that goes on by OTHER parties to get the apartment (Mild in comparison to what has gone on in real life fights). But I live in NYC and know people who live in buildings like that and if anything, this group of characters and their behavior is mild-mannered compared to what has actually happened in this city in battles over property like this.
But you know what, you don't have to have a multi-million dollar property to fight over to "get" or enjoy this book. Families fight over rickety old houses and all sorts of personal stuff when family members die. Families lie to each other and to themselves.
This story, like life, isn't about the battle for the property and the stuff. It's about something far more important.
It's primarily a sad tale at heart...albeit with a little twist that some might say "redeems" the book and doesn't leave you in total doom and gloom (and that sad, doom and gloom feeling? The author, I believe, is deliberately creating it to make a point about the people.)
I enjoyed it and read it over two days (it goes fast, if you're interested in the action). My only real criticism is that some plot points were painfully obvious and while I enjoyed the ending, it was a little too pat and contrived (and clear from early on in the book. I don't like when I can guess early on how something is going to end.)
If you're curious about this slice of NYC life, or want some light entertainment, it's worth a read.
While the interior of this luxurious apartment has fallen into terrible disrepair, Tina falls helplessly in love with its sense of history, regretting the lack of communication with her mother, or the reclusive man who offered marriage and shelter to a lonely woman. A rude awakening in the middle of the night by the drunk and furious Doug and Pete Drinan gives Tina a sample of the chaos to come, the brothers outraged that she and her sisters have laid claim to what they consider their birthright. Aside from the raging brothers, the building itself is filled with eccentric characters, a suave playboy, a plant collector who has rented space in the apartment to grow a luxurious carpet of moss, a wealthy but reclusive neighbor who harbors a terrible secret of her own and a determined co-op board that disdains any of the heirs' claims. The one ray of sunshine is an unexpected friendship with the wild private school-educated daughters who live on the floor above Tina, the girls' curiosity far outweighing their sense of entitlement.
With wry humor and tragicomedic revelations, Rebeck makes sense of this crazy quilt of eccentrics and claimants to an extraordinary piece of New York history, Tina putting a human face to family conflicts and the perils of trying to fit in where you don't belong. Scrappy and rebellious, Tina locks horns with Pete Drinan, a New York police detective, confronts the authoritarian demands of her own sister, Lucy, and slowly ferrets out the building's darkest secrets. The result is a surprisingly poignant mix of humor and tragedy, the best of motives undermined by greed and desperation, packed in a very satisfying novel. Luan Gaines/2010.
While I had heard excellent praise for her first book I had not read it. I subsequently read her first book and wasn't crazy about that one either so it may just be a question of style.