Click Here To Purchase The Three Weissmanns of Westport: A Novel

Author: Cathleen Schine
ISBN: 978-0-312-68052-7
Publisher: Picador Publishing

When Betty is dumped by her husband of forty-eight years, she and her two middle aged daughters move into a run-down beach cottage in Westport, Connecticut in attempt to regroup and fix the problems in their lives. Miranda and Annie each have their own troublesome concerns that send them packing and available to live with their elderly mother. Miranda, an impulsive character, is a literary agent in the midst of scandal due to her clients fictitious memoirs. Left with no money and angry publishers trying to sue her, Miranda doesn’t need anyone to convince her to sublet her apartment and move to Westport. Annie, a library director, is not without her own monetary issues and feels compelled to take care of her depressed mother and embarrassed sister. The novel chronicles the time they spend in Westport as well as the events that lead them to arrive there.

novel has quite an original take to an age old story. Betty’s husband Joseph Weissmann leaves her for a younger woman, claming “irresponsible differences” and leaving Betty in shock. Betty, a woman in her seventies, never thought divorce would happen at her age. Her daughters who are in their fifties seems to have very little of their lives “together” for their age. I had to remind myself of the characters age in this novel. The story itself follows a normal pattern of high power, social status and money that ends up bringing a bitter divorce when Joseph is not quite as generous as he claims he will be. Betty, who decides to claim she is a widow instead of being divorced is an interesting character. I sympathized with her. Who would want to divorce after being married almost 50 years?

The novel is written in an interesting style as it is narrated by the author instead of the characters telling the story. It gives the reader the illusion that the story is being told by someone who watches it unfold rather than enabling you to feel what the characters are feeling. This writing style also gave me a sense of detachment while reading the story. The pace of the novel is steady and there are some humorous parts. The novel is witty and sharp, it pays attention to detail, which at times was a little too in depth for me. I avoided comparing this novel to Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility because I feel I would have been deeply let down. While parts of the novel moved slowly for me, it does have an fairly interesting storyline and is definitely original in its approach.

Overall this book took me awhile to finish. I had a hard time staying concentrated since I didn’t connect with the characters. They weren’t all together likeable and were annoying at times. I was easily lost in the language of this book since it didn’t draw me into the story. I would recommend this novel to women over the age of 35 since I think they could appreciate some of the satire a little more than a younger reader. Since it is almost impossible to re-write a modern day work of a great author, I would recommend avoiding comparison to Jane Austen. I feel you are likely to be let down. This book is best read on its own merit.

Click Here To Purchase The Three Weissmanns of Westport: A Novel