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review 2017-02-18 22:14
Class - Lucinda Rosenfeld
ISBN: 9780316265416
Publisher: Little Brown & Co. 
Publication Date: 1/10/2017 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars


Lucinda Rosenfeld's CLASS features New York, Karen Kipple as she struggles to balance the demands of motherhood and career, always convinced that she was shortchanging one or the other.

Married for ten years and for the last five Karen had been the director of development for a small non-profit devoted to tackling childhood hunger in the US. For the past two years, she had been trying to write an oped which she hoped one day to publish in a major newspaper, about the relationship between nutrition and school readiness.

Matt, her husband is also a career activist in the nonprofit sector and she is always worried about Ruby, her eight-year-old daughter’s education. She encourages her former lawyer husband to quit his job and work with low-income people to assist their housing needs.

Karen had enrolled her daughter at Betts, aware that it lacked the reputation for academic excellence of other schools nearby, but Ruby would be exposed to children who were less privileged than herself. Even though the white population of the school hovered around 25%. Being in the minority in what she had chosen. However, was he sacrificing her education? Diversity or inferior education?

She had always aspired to a life of making a difference and helping those less fortunate than herself. She tried to live in accordance with the politics and principals, which of course included the notion that public education was a force for good and that without racially and economically integrated school, an equal opportunity couldn’t exist.

Ruby was smart and a voracious reading and life should be good. Karen, an advocate for non-food additives and chemicals as well as diversity. She has a nice condo, hubby, and daughter, Karen’s life seemed to be good in New York; however, she is unhappy.

“Karen’s complex and contradictory relationship to eating had also grown more in the last few years, along with weight, teeth, and marriage—somehow become a dividing line between the social classes with the Earth Day — esque ideals of the 1960s having acquired snob appeal, and the well-off and well-educated increasingly buying “natural” and “fresh” and casting aspersions on those who didn’t.”

Then when a classmate of Ruby’s transfers out of Betts to a more privileged school of white students, all of Karen’s earlier thoughts and commitments, quickly vanished. Her husband wants a divorce because she enrolled Ruby in a new school without telling him.

Following the lead, she moves Ruby and then begins an affair with a rich guy, Clay, among other things. More lies. Her emotions are all over the board. Karen is torn between social classes, seeing the poor living in shelters and the rich and their superficial ways. Hypocrisy. Guilt.

She was capable of paying hundreds of dollars for an espresso machine from Italy, Karen had a deeply ingrained cheap streak as well, which caused her to do things like go to the library and photocopy the crossword puzzle from the Sunday paper rather than pay for a subscription.

Rosenfeld kicks butt and puts it all out there. With keen insights, raw honesty, a brutal portrayal ---the truth of our unequal society in urban America. With humor and highly-charged topics, the author hits the bull's eye, with CLASS.

I especially enjoyed the wide range of topics from privilege, class, identity, entitlement, education, politics, domestic, marriage, social economics, philanthropy—to ethical dilemmas, the author does not miss a beat in this delightful satire.

A tale of one woman’s struggle between the madness of liberal and reality. The lesson liberals need to learn is that despite their arrogance, they do not have the power to alter reality. From liberals to progressive—is equality among human race the exception, and inequality the norm?

Much to like here whether you are a modern-day urban parent, grandparent, or single. Smart, witty, engaging, absorbing, and thought-provoking! The hardcover was stunning with a perfect fitting cover. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.

A special thank you to Little Brown & Co., Goodreads Giveaway, and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy, in exchange for an honest review.


Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/12/01/Class
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review 2014-10-01 01:27
Book 87/100: The Pretty One - A Novel About Sisters by Lucinda Rosenfeld
The Pretty One: A Novel about Sisters - Lucinda Rosenfeld

Yikes, an average rating below 3 stars on Goodreads tells me I'm not the only one who disliked this book.

I picked this book up because I also come from a family of three sisters, but if my family were anything like this one, I wouldn't live within driving distance of them. My husband often claims that my voice becomes "automatically defensive" when I talk to my sisters on the phone, and while I think a vein of defensiveness or competitiveness runs through many sisterly relationships into adulthood, these sisters were just plain shallow, petty, and vindictive. Really, their relationship within the first scenes comes across as totally toxic, from the way they mock each other's clothes to the ways they assume no one is listening to them. They feel secretly gleeful whenever something goes wrong for one of their siblings. I was hoping that maybe they started out so unlikeable so that they could grow toward a more mature relationship in the end, but ... nope. They stay shallow and petty right up till the end. In fact, I found it really hard to believe that these women were in their late thirties and held down jobs -- they all acted like immature college students.

I'm not even sure how one would classify this book. I picked it up thinking it was literary fiction, but it's far too poorly written to deserve that label. I guess maybe it's "chic lit," which is insulting to women who just like to read about other women. So I left it more or less unshelved.

The novel deals with some interesting subject matter -- sperm-bank children, a lesbian who finds herself attracted to a man for the first time, one sister who struggled with OCD, another who had an affair with her teacher as a student -- but all of it barely skims the surface, treating its subjects in a way that is trite at best and insulting at worst. I got the feeling that maybe it was supposed to be "funny," but I have trouble laughing at such clearly immature and vitriolic relationships and behavior.

Why two stars instead of one? Because, as much as I am ashamed to admit it, it held my interest -- much like one of those lowest-denominator reality TV shows. Still, I am not going to waste my time on one of Lucinda Rosenfeld's novels ever again.

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review 2013-01-01 00:00
The Pretty One: A Novel about Sisters
The Pretty One: A Novel about Sisters - Lucinda Rosenfeld Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-pretty-one.html

The Pretty One is a story of sisters - Perri, Pia, and Gus. Perri is the one with the successful business, a solid marriage, and accomplished kids. Olympia or Pia is the beautiful one choosing to be a single mother. Gus is the free spirit in the throes of a breakup.

However, sometimes all is not what it seems. All three have aspects of their lives they keep hidden - an old flame returning, an affair, and other things. Their relationships ebb and flow with love and resentment mixed together. Through it all and at the end of it all, they are sisters and all that entails.

I expected to relate to the characters in the book and their relationships. I did not. The characters seemed somewhat one dimensional and tailored to stereotypes. They do not really evolve or develop as the book progresses.

They also sounded self-indulgent and sometimes petty and mostly very negative. Unfortunately, that feeling seemed to permeate through the book making it not an enjoyable read.

*** Reviewed for the GoodReads Giveaway Program ***
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