Tuesday, September 14, 2010

118 - The Heights; Peter Hedges


The Heights by Peter Hedges is the story of  Kate and Tim  Welch, and their life in the Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.  Tim's a history teacher at Montague Academy, an elite private school and Katie is a  stay-at-home mom; together they live in cramped apartment with two young sons.  It's not easy existing on a teacher's salary for the couple. In fact it appears this couple is the only middle class couple still living in The Heights. Despite this their life seems relatively content.

All that changes when. the wealthy and married, Anna Brody moves into a brownstone nearby. Suddenly the Welches are invited into that world of privilege, and everything changes. Kate is offered a high-powered job, which she accepts and Tim stays home with the boys to work on his long neglected dissertation.  It is about at this point when the story stopped working for me. although there were funny parts, for me it just seemed to get a little too silly, and cliched.

The story is told in alternating chapters by Kate and Tim, and a few minor characters. I did not care about the characters, many of whom were yuppie-ish and self indulgent, and others who were just plain whiny or unlikable. The audio book readers (the author was one) were fine, but the story grated on my nerves after a while. ( I also had a review copy). This book just wasn't my cup of tea; it lacked substance.

Peter Hedges is an author and screenwriter -- What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and About a Boy. I can see how this book too, might be adapted to the big screen down the road.

RATING - 2/5 Stars
(Library audio and review copy)

11 comments:

  1. Hmmm...I love both of those movies, especially about About a Boy. It's surprising to hear you say this book lacked substance, when those two films are his previous work. That must be disappointing.

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  2. You know I was thinking of getting this book on audio from the library but now I can pass - fine with me since I was kind of iffy on it anyway!

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  3. Too bad it didn't work, because I think the premise sounds great.

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  4. I am sorry to hear that this one wasn't your cup of tea and that you didn't like it. I haven't been itching to pick this one up, but even so, I will be avoiding it after your review.

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  5. I am sorry to hear that this one wasn't your cup of tea and that you didn't like it. I haven't been itching to pick this one up, but even so, I will be avoiding it after your review.

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  6. Too bad. This has been recommended to me a couple of times. How disappointing.

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  7. I was really looking forward to this book because I love the movie "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" and enjoyed "About A Boy" but this doesn't sound like one I would like. I wondered how the story would be handles when the wife gets the high-powered job and the man stays home. I want to care about and be interested in the characters and their lives. I don't like self-indulgent or whiny, unlikable people in RL and definitely not in the books I read.

    Sorry this one was so disappointing. I really appreciate your honest review.
    ~ Amy

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  8. It's too bad that this one didn't work for you :( I received a review copy many months ago, and recall enjoying it for the most part. I appreciate your honest reviews!

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  9. hmm, I will just give this one a miss!

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  10. Maybe it will make a better movie than book!

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  11. I could see that this type of book might either work or not ... too bad it didn't work for you.

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