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Prospect Park West (2009)

Brooklyn's Park Slope neighbourhood is the place to live if you are a neurotic SAHM (stay-at-home mom) continually obsessing about your child's wellbeing. From the best public education money can buy to organic baby food from the Prospect Park Food Coop, and of course, playmates with well-connected parents, Park Slope has it all ... including four dissatisfied mothers. Melora Leigh is growing increasingly frustrated with her acting career, her distant actor-writer husband, and her adopted son to the point that she does whatever she can to feel the thrill of life again. Lizzie O'Donnell, dealing with loneliness while her musician husband is on the road, finds herself continually drawn to women even though she considers herself a "hasbian" since getting married and having her son. Rebecca Rose longs for the sex life she had with her husband before having her daughter. When a flirtation with a neighbourhood dad at the Coop is taken to the next level, she must decide what she really wants out of life. Karen Bryan Shapiro is a social climber of the highest order. In an effort to obtain the perfect address so her son can attend the best school in Brooklyn, she resorts to some very unsavoury behaviour. The lives of Melora, Lizzie, Rebecca, and Karen become dizzyingly intertwined in this dishy, frank, but completely over-the-top and stereotypical look at life in Brooklyn. The book suffers from the author including too many characters who aren't developed to their potential. (LEK)

My Old Man (2004)

After having a sick man complain she is the worst rabbi he has even seen and then croaks under her care, 26-year-old Rachel Block is convinced her days of studying to be a rabbi are through. She drops out of rabbinical school and makes a career out of bartending and finds something new to study: Hank Powell, a sarcastic and peculiar screen writer that Rachel has fallen in love with even though he is almost as old as her father. Their "relationship" takes the reader on a tailspin of crazy sexual interactions that can make even the most enlightened person squirm. Rachel has now seemed to take on a completely different persona since we met her in the beginning of the book, making her seem more sex-indulgent, feisty and a bit chaotic. The change in her character has created some tension with the way her parents seem to view her but they also have some issues of their own. As Rachel takes a closer look into their lives she comes to terms with the fact that something is definitely going on with them, especially with her father. This wild story is comical and almost terrifying at the same time, making it an impossible book to put down. (CC)

Run Catch Kiss: A Gratifying Novel (2000)

Ariel Steiner, a 22-year-old graduate from Brown University, heads back to New York to jump-start her acting career that she left as a child. According to her agent, college didn't just leave her with a degree but with an extra 15 pounds that she needs to lose immediately before she can even consider getting any decent acting gigs. Reluctantly, Ariel settles for a temp job to make some money and uses her lunch break to head out to auditions for purely "fat girl parts". Besides feeling down about her absent acting career, she writes about her sexual frustrations which are taken to a weekly paper, City Week, where she is offered a sex column, Run Catch Kiss. After weeks of getting hate mail from her readers about her lack of an exciting sex life, she reinvents herself and makes up sex stories that are based on her fantasies and some actual dates that are abnormal but tantalising. While Ariel can come across as crass, self-absorbed and even trashy, she is really just a normal girl looking to find both love and success. Indulge in this hilarious tailspin of erotic stories that has clever humour, and unrated scenes with a character as snarky and sex-obsessed as the story itself. Sohn herself wrote a similar newspaper column. (CC)

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