Cover image for The pretty one : a novel about sisters
Title:
The pretty one : a novel about sisters
Author:
Rosenfeld, Lucinda.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Little, Brown and Company, [2013]

©2013
Physical Description:
305 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
For nearly forty years, The Hellinger sisters of Hastings-on-Hudson have played the roles set down by their loving but domineering mother Carol, but lately they aren't pulling off their roles the way they once did. Perri, upset over the lack of appreciation from her recently unemployed husband Mike, is engaging in a steamy text flirtation with a college fling. Pia, desperate to find someone to share in the pain and joy of raising her three-year-old daughter Lola, can't stop fantasizing about Donor #6103. And Gus, heartbroken over the loss of her girlfriend, finds herself drawn to Jeff, Mike's frat boy of a little brother. When a freak accident lands their mother to the hospital, each Hellinger sister is sent rocketing out of her comfort zone.
Language:
English
Subject Term:
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780316213554
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Perfect. Pretty. Political. For nearly forty years, The Hellinger sisters of Hastings-on-Hudson-namely, Imperia (Perri), Olympia (Pia), and Augusta (Gus)--have played the roles set down by their loving but domineering mother Carol. Perri, a mother of three, rules her four-bedroom palace in Westchester with a velvet fist, managing to fold even fitted sheets into immaculate rectangles. Pia, a gorgeous and fashionable Chelsea art gallery worker, still turns heads after becoming a single mother via sperm donation. And Gus, a fiercely independent lawyer and activist, doesn't let her break-up from her girlfriend stop her from attending New Year's Day protests on her way to family brunch.

But the Hellinger women aren't pulling off their roles the way they once did. Perri, increasingly filled with rage over the lack of appreciation from her recently unemployed husband Mike, is engaging in a steamy text flirtation with a college fling. Meanwhile Pia, desperate to find someone to share in the pain and joy of raising her three-year-old daughter Lola, can't stop fantasizing about Donor #6103. And Gus, heartbroken over the loss of her girlfriend, finds herself magnetically drawn to Jeff, Mike's frat boy of a little brother. Each woman is unable to believe that anyone, especially her sisters, could understand what it's like to be her. But when a freak accident lands their mother to the hospital, a chain of events is set in motion that will send each Hellinger sister rocketing out of her comfort zone, leaving her to wonder: was this the role she was truly born to play?

With The Pretty One , author Lucinda Rosenfeld does for siblings what she did for female friendship in I'm So Happy for You , turning her wickedly funny and sharply observant eye on the pleasures and punishments of lifelong sisterhood.


Author Notes

Lucinda Rosenfeld is the author of the novels What She Saw..., Why She Went Home, and I'm So Happy For You. Her fiction and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Creative Non-Fiction, Slate.com, Glamour, and other magazines. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two young daughters.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Complicated yet close relationships between sisters are a familiar trope in literature. In Rosenfeld's contemporary spin, the Hellinger sisters are wildly different in manner but alike in their propensity for meddling in each other's lives. Oldest sister Perri, a perfectionist working mom with a successful husband and suburban manse, stuns all when she runs away for the weekend with an old college boyfriend. Meanwhile, back home, Perri's husband, Mike, makes a pass at her beautiful middle sister, Olympia, a single mom whose dating and professional lives are floundering. Youngest sister Gus, a lesbian social-activist lawyer, is going through an identity crisis of her own when a bad breakup has her considering a fling with Mike's brother Jeff. Although the novel's twists and turns are entertaining, it's the sisters' realistic swings from jealousy to unity that make it compelling. Once again, the author of I'm So Happy for You (2009) portrays women with insight.--Walker, Aleksandra Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

While the title of Rosenfeld's latest would have you believe that this story revolves around Pia, the prettiest Hellinger daughter, the real focus is the incessant drama that drives a wedge between three sisters. All in their late 30s, the sisters continually bicker and attempt to one-up each other: middle child Pia is irked that Perri, the eldest with control issues and CEO of a home organization company, and Gus, a terrible gossip, found success in their respective fields while her own art career has floundered. Perri, a workaholic mother of three, lacks sympathy for Pia's single motherhood; she and Gus speculate about the identity of their niece Lola's father, while Pia still finds herself smarting over an ill-fated relationship with a married man. As Perri becomes increasingly shrewlike, she bristles at her unemployed husband's poor homemaking skills. Meanwhile, Gus's lover leaves her and, perplexingly, she finds herself pining for a man. The situation implodes when Gus spills the secret of Perri's impulsive blunder, and though a whopper of an event brings the sisters together, the book winds down to an unsatisfying nonending. Despite some occasionally stiff writing, Rosenfeld (I'm So Happy for You) does do a stellar job of developing each personality, and the characters remain true to their nature throughout. Agent: Maria Massie, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

Sisters Perri, Olympia, and Gus have one thing in common-they love to compete with each other. Perri, the oldest, is the perfect one. She runs a successful company, is married with three children, and keeps her home in immaculate order. Olympia, the middle sister, is the pretty one. After ending her relationship with a married man she decides to have a baby on her own. Gus, the youngest, is the political one who begins to question her sexual orientation after her long relationship with another woman ends. When Perri disrupts the others' lives with an out-of-character move and an unexpected addition to the family shows up, the sisters may not be able to overcome the fissures in their relationships unless they can step out of their comfort zones. VERDICT Rosenfeld's (I'm So Happy for You) believable novel explores how our closest relationships can be the most frustrating. For fans of women's fiction about family drama like the novels of Luanne Rice.-Karen Core, Detroit P.L. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.