What She Saw...
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What She Saw...

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3.04 of 5 stars 3.04  ·  rating details  ·  577 ratings  ·  58 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...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 4th 2001 by Anchor (first published September 12th 2000)
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Anna
Jul 04, 2009 Anna rated it 1 of 5 stars
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.
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
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
Naomi
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...more
Jessi
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...more
Christine
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...more
Joe
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...more
Josh
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
Nickoleta
Jul 27, 2008 Nickoleta rated it 3 of 5 stars
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.
Charlene
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...more
Elisabeth
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
Heather
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.
Chaquel Roye
So, I definitely didn't like the main character. She is extremely selfish and jealous. However, there are things that I could relate to such as body image issues and not knowing exactly what you want out of life. Yet, I will say that I found myself a little depressed after reading it. Not because I was done, but because the main character's attitude towards like is an absolute downer. I kept hoping she would snap out of it, but she never did. Regardless, there were some funny parts, so it wasn't...more
Johanna Descoins
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...more
Kayla Pasby
I was pretty disappointed in the book. The character Phoebe Fine was just so unsympathetic it was hard to finish the novel, in fact I got all the way to page 260 and couldn't do it anymore. The novel however starts well and I enjoyed the chapters where Phoebe discovers love during grade school, high school and college. In these chapters Phoebe has this sweet naïveté about her that is relatable and enduring. It's not until the chapters in which Phoebe is living as a young adult in NYC is where th...more
Sara
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
Rachel
May 03, 2014 Rachel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
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
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
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
CK
Overall, I was very much entertained, but at the same time I found the main character quite pathetic. I was on her side probably up until the end, but was upset that there wasn't any kind of catharsis. Oh well, I guess there are not always happy endings.
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.
Jessica
The style of writing was compelling, however the book itself wasn't. I feel it lacked a lot but I did finish it. Interesting, but not great at all. I wouldn't recommend it.
Elysabeth
Feb 04, 2010 Elysabeth rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Anna Cutler
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
Lisa Mahan
I was unimpressed. The concept is okay...what she saw and then IN such and such boy per chapter, which is a unique idea. But the execution was disappointing. I'm sure it was all just supposed to be realistic but the author never gives you the satisfaction of the main character actually finding love. The sibling rivalry undercurrent did strike a' nerve with me, not because of my siblings but because I'm about to have my second kid and I worry about one of them feeling the way the main girl did in...more
Nicky Enriquez
At this particular moment, I feel as though this was the perfect book for me to read. It's interesting to experience the transgression of Phoebe's relationships with time. Rosenfield also describes the relationships Phoebe has with her "best friend at the moment" during her escapades with these gentlemen, and that was an intriguing aspect to examine in parallel with her romantic relationships. I think I learned some things about myself in the process. Definitely worth the read - just wish I coul...more
Samra
I would say this book was decent, and a pretty easy quick read. However, I definitely thought it went downhill halfway through. I don't know what it is about books with a central female character these days, but the character seems to turn into this crazy, neurotic, insecure, man-obsessed freak. I am not saying girls like this don't exist in the world, but I just think it becomes a bit painful to read about girls with so many issues (that move very quickly from relatable to unrelateable).

Anyway...more
Amanda
I found this book on a list of books you must read in your 20's and after reading it, I understand why. It is sort of a coming of age novel about a girl told through her relationships from the time she was young to her mid-20s. Some people believe their life is defined by their relationships and the main character seems to think that as well. I liked the format of the book but I just couldn't get into it as much as I wanted to. The character was very much believable but I found myself bored duri...more
Becky
This was an interesting idea for a novel, until I realized that the main character had no personality. At all. I'd have liked to read about What She Saw In all those ex-boyfriends if she'd had a position, an opinion, or any sort of characteristics of her own. Perhaps that was the point, but in that case, you're better off reading Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca which does a much better job of examining the "young woman as blank slate" and is a suspense-driven potboiler to boot.
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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...
The Pretty One: A Novel about Sisters I'm So Happy for You Why She Went Home: A Novel Pretty One, The: A Novel about Sisters Prevention Program Development and Evaluation: An Incidence Reduction, Culturally Relevant Approach

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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” 7 likes
“In all honesty Phoebe never actually gave much thought to being Kevin's girlfriend. She fell into their relationship the way others fall asleep at the wheel. She hadn't known guys could be that sweet. Or maybe it hadn't occurred to her before that she might be attracted to someone who didn't treat her like a mild irritant. And he told her he loved her. Moreover, there were tines 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” 4 likes
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