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on 15 May 2015
After reading Jennifer Weiner's 'All Fall Down', which I loved, I thought I'd try out another novel of hers. Sadly, I was underwhelmed by this one.

I think my main issue with the novel is that it doesn't know what it's trying to be, or that it's trying to be too many things at once- murder mystery, satire on American suburbia, motherhood manual, romance, there's so much going on and not necessarily in a good way. Characters kept getting mentioned and I had to stop and go, "Wait, who is this, again?" That's not to say the novel was all bad- Jennifer Weiner has a very entertaining manner of narration and she sets up little details in characters backstories that prove to be unusual and interesting- I especially liked Kate's opera-singer mother and her childhood. During the scenes that had real focus, they flowed very well.

However, another thing that bothered me about the book was our 'heroine' herself. Kate Klein, frumpy ex-journalist housewife, doesn't fit in with the other suburban mothers- which we're pretty much constantly reminded of throughout the novel. Now, it's not like I minded that as such, but Kate had a very condescending attitude towards the other housewives and seemed to both envy them and consider herself superior at the same time, so her isolation was harder to really care about. I feel like her attitude towards her dead neighbour, Kitty was incredibly blithe- the moments where Kate remembers an innocent woman was stabbed to death and starts feeling sad and/or guilty about it come off as inauthentic, like the author realised that Kate needed to show token sympathy or she'll look like a sociopath, and her best friend, Janie, was even worse. Janie was one of the worst things about this novel- she's like all of Kate's worst traits put into another person, and she basically serves as a human Deus Ex Machina whenever Kate can't plausibly get something by herself- there's one scene where Janie casually gets a JET, with an offhand, "I know people." Seriously? Both of them seem far more interested in getting a good story than the fact a woman was killed, and I found that every criticism other characters had of Kate (such as having no business pretending to be a detective) were accurate and well-deserved, yet the narrative sides with Kate, as it's all in first person.

When I got to the grand finale where we finally unwrap the mystery, I nearly laughed at loud at how absurd it was. I have to give the author credit for not going for the most obvious thing, but I failed to feel any real emotion impact from the characters or plot- it was all kind of faintly ridiculous, so I could read and enjoy to an extent, but I couldn't take any of it seriously and was honestly quite relieved when I finally got to the ending. So while I will try out other Jennifer Weiner's, I'd definitely miss out recommending this one.
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on 28 February 2006
I've only just discovered Jennifer Weiner but she is heads and shoulders above most of the writers in this area – mainly because the characters are so well done and for once you genuinely care about them!
Kate is a mother of 3 but a city girl at heart who has just moved to the suburbs and is struggling to cope. If you 'get' Lynette from Desperate Housewives you will love her. When one of the snooty neighbourhood yummy mummies is found dead Kate finds herself investigating the secrets behind their outwardly perfect lives. She enlists the help of her best friend Janie and some of the funniest moments come from the flashbacks to their time as single girls, running around town. When Kate's Ex shows up you know things are going to get complicated!
I found that the mystery plot needed a bit of picking through but the main female characters, the humour and witty observations more than make up for it.
Recommended, a real discovery!'
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on 31 July 2007
'Goodnight Nobody' is a surface level, warmed over chick lit book that fell a little flat for me. Jennifer Weiner definitely has comedic capabilities and appeal; however, I felt her latest attempts at creating a sort of "murder mystery" were weak and a little shallow. The book starts out with Kate Klein frumpy and annoying and ends with Kate Klein frumpy and annoying. And then there's the murder mystery...I mean, really, how many people find their neighbor hacked to death and then leave the house, casually call the police, and carry on with their lives? I think most of us would be catatonic or at the very least, would have run screaming into the street, having nightmares for months on end. It's this kind of superficiality and shallowness that just doesn't work, and I'm not sure if the casual triteness of the story was to make it funny or just because she couldn't think of how to really delve into a "murder mystery". It's not a horrible book, and it was entertaining for awhile, but then you're going "Yeah right" and "That's ridiculous!" in parts that don't add up. Near the end, there is a scene in which it seems we are supposed to finally realize the reasons for the unrequited love of this gorgeous man from Kate Klein's past. He's the one who seemed interested but wasn't-but really was- and then- nothing- nope we don't get any answers. It almost makes you think she's working on a sequel to this book. Then there's the matter of the title...this title makes no sense for this book other than the fact that she reads Goodnight Moon to her kids. And another thing, why is there a picture of a sexy-legged woman on the cover? We're talking about a frumpy woman trying to solve a murder in the suburbs here, not Sex and the City.

Bottom line is, I think this book was trying to be too many things to too many readers, and it ended up being just an average book that doesn't live up to the previous examples of fine fiction from Jennifer Weiner.
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on 30 August 2006
This is desperate housewives minus the glamour with kids added. An excellent read from start to finish. This was the first Jennifer Weiner book i read and i am now working my way through the others. Definately chick lit but with murder, infidelity and baby sick a must read for any mother who just wants more.....
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on 5 August 2008
Read this book after reading the recommendations on amazon. It is brilliant! Well written, funny, and realistic. Once I got going I couldn't put it down, and couldn't guess what was going to happen right up until the very end.
There were a few parts where I didn't understand references to american culture, and there were a few lines that were grammatically incorrect as well, but this doesn't detract from the plot. Overall - a big thumbs up! Will be reading more of jennifer weiners books in future.
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on 5 October 2006
I'm sorry but I just couldn't get on with this at all. It's supposed to be like Desperate Housewives but has none of that series' glamour, ironic humour or edge. The flashback scenes are just so much schmalz and there are too many subordinate plot lines or events which only serve to obscure what plot there is. The author's poor prose style does not compensate for these weaknesses and the mystery itself is not even properly resolved, leaving you feeling that you have completley wasted your time! I know that Jennifer Weiner's books are categorised as 'chicklit', but judging from this she seems incapable of doing more - i.e. crafting a clever, well constucted mystery novel in which the various elements 'add up' in an intelligent, satisfying and surprising way. If you are looking for a well-written, witty and clever US 'chick' mystery then you'd be better off sticking to Janet Evanovich and/or Sparkle Hayter.
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on 23 October 2007
I have only awarded this lukewarm effort by Jennifer Weiner 2 stars by virtue of the fact that I finished it. Having said that, I am rather disappointed that I wasted my time. It had a few entertaining moments, the relationship with the hunky Evan being about the most alluring, but this was unexplored and unresolved. The plot was outlandish and the conclusion, well, just a complete disappointment that ruined any credibility that this bland little book had managed to create. Don't waste your time on this one. Try 'In Her Shoes' or 'Little Earthquakes' for much better form from Weiner.
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on 26 May 2008
This was the first book by this author that I have read. After reading Emily Barr's Backpack many years ago I have tried to find other chicklit books but have a darker twist to them and this certainly hit the right buttons. Well recommended!!! Loved it!!!
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on 27 May 2016
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