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What She Saw...

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3.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,098 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
A fresh (in more than one sense) and honest new voice in fiction is extravagantly displayed in this first novel that candidly dissects modern romance.

Plagued with weird parents, an underdeveloped body, and a mind on the verge of self-deconstruction, Phoebe Fine feels ill-equipped for a journey through the hardening chambers of the late twentieth-century heart. But from fif
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ebook, 304 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Anchor (first published September 12th 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Snafujello
I couldn't put this book down, but i tend to have a morbid sense of humor. The main character is deeply depressed. At the same time I had a very sick fascination with learning more about her. If you are looking for a cute pick me up romantic story this is not it. I think the main problem for most people is that Phoebe is extremely unsympathetic, but what I appreciated is that the author never pretends otherwise. The character thinks too much, smokes too much, sleeps around too much, doesn't eat ...more
Anna
Jul 04, 2009 Anna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
A completely unlikable main character made this book torture to get through. She goes through each guy she has ever dated, like or looked at chapter by chapter. I found myself rooting for her to stay alone and miserable.
Naomi
Jan 11, 2014 Naomi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I've never been so excited and pleased to finish a book. This was absolutely the worst thing I've read in months and I would not recommend this book to a friend, enemy or neutral acquaintance. Had I not spent the week reading this book, and had I not had a reading goal for the year, I would have abandoned this book after Phoebe Fine's elementary years.

Never in my life have I read a fictional character with so little to sympathize with. Rosenfeld appears to take every negative and depressing hum
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Katie Fitzgerald
I'm not sure why I finished this book, when I knew 50 pages in that I wasn't really interested in it. But finish I did, and I have to say, I was left entirely dissatisfied. I don't know if it was the third person point of view that disconnected me from the novel's protagonist, Phoebe Fine, or if it was the repetition of chapter after chapter depicting boring boyfriend after boring boyfriend, but I really felt that this was nothing more than a book of lists about a pretty annoying and unsympathet ...more
Jessi
Oct 09, 2010 Jessi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure which book or blog recommended this book (I think it might have been Nancy Pearl's Book Lust) but it was okay. Most reviews either loved or hated this book but I'm more ambivalent.
Phoebe Fine is a girl growing up in New Jersey at the beginning of this book. She is not the best looking girl, at least in her own estimation, but she yearns for a boyfriend. The rest of the book is an exploration of the rest of Lucy's life, told through the men she hooks up with. This includes high scho
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LillaLovesBooks
Sep 18, 2014 LillaLovesBooks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-reads
This book is like nothing I’ve ever read before. I was wary to reads this because of the low ratings on goodreads, but I’m glad I did. Phoebe Fine can be an infuriating character. Some decisions she makes can make you laugh or shake your head as well as your fist. I understand how she could be unlikable, but I felt that was what made her human. Phoebe was a myriad of contradictions, but aren’t we all?

Her romantic endeavors made for an entertaining read, I’m so happy I gave this a chance. In a lo
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Christine
Feb 14, 2012 Christine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Thrift store find. I don't think I'll finish it.

The beginning was funny and bright, but now we are in poor Phoebe Fine's long terrible teens-early twenties. I didn't really need a reminder of how horrible those years were, but also, there's nothing much to LIKE about Phoebe. She's depressed and has food/anorexia issues, but where's the SPARK of her personality? It's not there. And though I liked, in the beginning, the premise of telling someone's life story through the maze of their (sexual) re
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Joe
Nov 23, 2007 Joe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Soon after I read this book, I tossed it out along with my retro polyester pants and orange creepers. The concept of the novel is a clever one and it starts out as being cute and funny. Even as a gay male, I could identify with Phoebe and a lot of her unwise choices in men.
Then somewhere along the line, the book loses what little bit of charm it has and suddenly you're finding yourself not liking Phoebe that much. As each man revolves his way through her life, you begin to dislike her and her ch
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Josh
Jul 12, 2010 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book chronicles the love life of a “chick” from middle school to early twenties. Each chapter is entitled “in Guy X”. So the title of each chapter is, “What she saw in Guy X.” The premise is clever, and it works. The character is all too believable, exhibiting a lack of self esteem and poor choices all throughout her love career. I did not like the protagonist and found her shallow and uninteresting. The fact that the book ends with the protagonists early 20s is also a let down. Basically, ...more
Jessa
Apr 19, 2015 Jessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because it was on the must read books in your 20s list and I absolutely agree. This book is one of those that makes you sooo uncomfortable because you realize how vain and awful we are as human beings. Someone recently told me the pursuit of happiness is a Western cultural construct and after reading this novel, I completely agree.

The story follows Phoebe Fine and her romances from Middle School through her 20s. Each one is a battle to find someone who worships her and who simul
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Gabriela
This book was an overdose of less than desirable modern life. I identified more than I cared to. Because it was good I felt nauseous reading it. The ending was what I predicted - it wasn't an answer to anything but it was the only plausible answer to her life.
Nickoleta
Jul 27, 2008 Nickoleta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Nickoleta by: my sister Voula
It's been years since I first read this...I remember the first chapter about the German pen pal was hysterically funny, but I lost interest after that. Yet I kept reading, hoping it would get better...and I don't think it did.
christa
Apr 13, 2007 christa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doneanddone
best. chicklit. ever. phoebe fine goes through her history of men. one man per chapter. my favorite is pablo miles and how the sexualize the topography of the apartment. i steal that line a lot.
Kimberly Ann
Jul 06, 2015 Kimberly Ann rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Easy read. I liked how raw it was. A little raunchy. But somehow relatable in ways. A good guilty pleasure read.
Heather
Jan 25, 2009 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I need some chick lit...I don't really remember anything about this book.
Shayna Marks
This got rave reviews. I don't know why.
Elle
Jul 24, 2015 Elle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ages 25+ both Women & Men
Recommended to Elle by: Buzzfeed
Shelves: discover-dragons
This was a novel that was easy to read, well-written, and has left me thinking less about the character Phoebe and more about my own late adolescent self. The story, told by Phoebe, is structured around the men that romantically (or should I say sexually?) color her life. It is, if not unnervingly similar to the questions and experiences I imagine most young adult women go through to some degree, illuminating to read as an older 20-something who is married with a daughter of her own.

The novel mo
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Tina Madan
The book was an easy read, but was recommended to read in my 20s. It was awful at describing romance and dating at this age. But! It was wonderful at describing what it should be, which is not what the main character is going through. She is unlike able after high school and eventually the narration tells the reader that she is aware of how she's being detrimental to herself. And she puts herself into a low, no self respect position that makes me feel so much better about my own self. I would ha ...more
Johanna Descoins
Mar 09, 2014 Johanna Descoins rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Up until page 260 (out of 284) I was so incredibly tempted to throw this book in the recycling. As other reviewers have mentioned, the main character is so unsympathetic and such a gross caricature of a human being that she's literally painful to read about, and impossible to care about. I have never met a person or a fictional character with so few redeeming qualities (or really, no redeeming qualities.) Reading this book felt like being forced to hang out with a truly, truly awful person.
And
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Sara
Nov 06, 2013 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What She Saw... was refreshingly different from the other novels I've been reading lately (The Emperor's Children, the Divergent trilogy, etc) so I definitely can't say I didn't enjoy it. I'm assuming the theme of this novel is simply that you can pick yourself up and move on after any terrible relationship, as our protagonist Phoebe certainly does time and time again. Still, I was left wanting more. I wanted the author to answer my question of "How am I different after reading this? What can I ...more
Heather
Jan 28, 2016 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this looked like an interesting read....it was not. Phoebe Fine was terribly unlikable and had no redeemable qualities to even make her interesting. I kept reading thinking she'd grow, mature and be a late bloomer into a well rounded character. Nope. She stayed as dull and one dimensional as she had been from the get go. By the time I got to the Arnold Allen story, I laughed at her. I disliked her so much that I was glad she got fleeced. The only hope I had for this book was that by th ...more
James Wagner
“Well, let it pass, he thought;
April is over, April is over.
There are all kinds of love in the world,
but never the same love twice."

- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Sensible Thing, 1924, from the preface of What She Saw...: A Novel

"Moreover, there were times when she thought she loved Kevin, too. Though what she probably loved even more than Kevin was the idea of someone being in love with her. It seemed like a radical notion. It seemed like the 'real thing.'"

― Lucinda Rosenfeld, What She Saw...: A No
...more
Min Wan
Sep 11, 2013 Min Wan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What She Saw... takes the reader through the odyssey that is Phoebe's love life. It is interesting to watch Phoebe grow up before our eyes, beginning with a sweet, curious kid to a messed-up adult still in search of love and fulfillment. autocom cdp pro The men that come into Phoebe's life sometimes stay, most often go, but always leave behind a piece of themselves that Phoebe carries with her. It is also interesting to see how each relationship develops and how, ultimately, they crumble. By the ...more
Ange
Mar 15, 2015 Ange rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Each chapter of this book is about a different romantic interest in Phoebe's love life. She's the progeny of a music-geek family and her older sister is leaving big footprints for Phoebe to follow in. This is a coming of age story and one that I could certainly identify with, at least from the viewpoint toward the string of unsuited suitors. As the reader and one who recalls with vivid memories the various loves of her life in chapters, I could easily ride the emotional rollercoaster the protago ...more
Charlene
Mar 30, 2014 Charlene rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was disturbed by the ease with which Phoebe's entered into and out of relationships. There was very little substance and quality in her esteem. It was as though Phoebe didn't know what she wanted -- and was easily manipulated into believing something had a purpose. All too often, Phoebe put herself into unthinkable and naive situations, and felt it was ok or was just too lazy to get out.

There was very little character development and purpose to her life. There were no life lessons in this sto
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Elysabeth
Feb 04, 2010 Elysabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing
I liked this book a lot -- despite some of the bad reviews I've seen. This book tracks the life of Phoebe Fine as she moves from (dysfunctional) relationship to (dysfunctional) relationship. Yes, Phoebe has her problems, and has her destructive tendencies, but I truly was cheering for her the entire time. I think, as a woman in my late 20s (and happily married, I should add), I could identify with some of her relationship hangups, even if only sometimes through my own fantasies. I wanted her to ...more
Rachel
Dec 21, 2015 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, novel
This was a quick/fun read. While my list of boyfriends is smaller than Phoebe's, many of her relationships had familiar quirks and emotions. The novel's relatability (is that a word?) is its strength, and the humor helps too. As I read, I also noticed that the numbered characters on the front really did match up with their chapters, looks-wise, so that was fun. It did take some time to warm up to Phoebe herself; a first person point-of-view might have won me over quicker, though in the end she j ...more
Michelle
Aug 10, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was absolutely thrilled with the format and raw honesty of this book. Did I love the main character? As all the other reviewers have pointed out, no, I did not love the main character. Phoebe is a depressed narcissistic anorexic and is actually quite boring. But the point of the book for me was that it doesn't matter what Phoebe was actually like, being young means learning about yourself through experience and often through the eyes of those people who you wish would love you, or that you lov ...more
Elisabeth
Apr 12, 2014 Elisabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really good coming-of-age but never really getting there kind of book. I identified with Phoebe and then she went batshit on me. But the character descriptions made me laugh and I didn't want to stop reading about this girl even though I stopped understanding her compulsion to make a mess of her life. I actually liked that all of Phoebe's worst characteristics were shown because I know there have been times where I thought all I had were my worst features. I relate to painting the wor ...more
Anna Novak
Feb 16, 2014 Anna Novak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would, based off of some of the reviews on here. I actually felt really sympathetic for the main character. Maybe it was because I could see myself in her. People are not perfect. I don't always want to read a book about a proud, powerful woman. Sometimes I want to read something about someone who is broken. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the ending. I felt like it just stopped. I thought there would be more to it. Any type of resolution... with a ...more
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赣州软件开发 1 5 May 17, 2015 06:11AM  
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Lucinda Rosenfeld is the author of four novels, including THE PRETTY ONE: a novel about sisters, to be published by Little Brown in February 2013. She lives in Brooklyn NY with her husband and two young daughters--and is the youngest of three sisters. For the record, while growing up, Lucinda was considered "the athletic one."
More about Lucinda Rosenfeld...

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“Things are really fucked up right now. We hardly see each other anymore and when we do, we go to sleep on opposite sides of the bed” 10 likes
“She had a thing for cocky assholes. When they expressed interest in her it seemed meaningful. When nice guys hit on her, she had trouble caring. ” 5 likes
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