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The Good People of New York

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  670 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
When Roz Rosenzweig meets Edwin Anderson fumbling for keys on the stoop of a Manhattan walk-up, the last thing on her mind is falling for a polite Nebraskan–yet fall for him she does. So begins Thisbe Nissen’s breathtaking debut novel, a decidedly urban fairy tale that follows Roz and Edwin as they move from improbable courtship to marriage to the birth of daughter ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 7th 2002 by Anchor (first published January 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 04, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
This novel begins by telling the story of how Jewish native New Yorker Roz and Protestant transplant from Nebraska Eddie met, fell in love, and got married, but story really begins to soar when it starts to focus on their daughter Miranda's coming of age. In a largely character-driven novel such as this one, where there is very little if any plot to speak of, the characters need to be genuine, dynamic and deeply drawn, and they are. Nissen succeeds where many other meandering tales of someone's ...more
Apr 21, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it
In The Good People of New York, Thisbe Nissen presents the story of Roz and her daughter Miranda. While the initial focus of the story is on Roz and her circle of friends in New York, this expands to include Miranda, especially as she becomes an adolescent. The story is light and sometimes humorous and it is a nice, easy read. In addition, it presents a picture of everyday, non-glitzy New York beginning in the 1970s.
Oct 17, 2008 Tyra rated it it was ok
Not a huge page turner for me but it was an okay read all in all. The characters weren't developed enough but it passed the time. I was actually trying to read a different book of hers The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook: They Came, They Cooked, They Left (But We Ended Up with Some Great Recipes) but my library doesn't carry it
Andrea Paul Amboyer
May 22, 2007 Andrea Paul Amboyer rated it really liked it
A story about the creation, unraveling, and eventual redefinition of a family in New York. It has some bolder story lines in relation to a rather young girl's choices about sex but I think the characters are real and for the most part quite likeable. I enjoy the complicated nature of Nissen's plots and tangled picture she paints of romance and attraction.
May 20, 2010 hannah rated it really liked it
Thisbe Nissen writes how I want to write. This is nowhere near as good as her collection of stories, and it took a long time to get to interesting, but I loved it more and more as it went on. Miranda's story is far more interesting than Roz's, so once we got to her I was hooked.
Dec 23, 2008 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chick-fiction! Great break from life in this book. Romance, upset teenagers, divorce; you name the chick-like drama; its probably in there.
Jan 11, 2011 Rose rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge-2011
This is one of those rare books that sneaks up on you and speaks to your whole self in such a way that you're still thinking about the characters after you've finished.
Natalie Grange
May 15, 2014 Natalie Grange rated it did not like it
Ehh. The beginning seemed promising, but by the end I just wanted to smack all the selfish characters. I should have put this book in the give away bag before I opened it up.
Oct 22, 2016 Barbara rated it really liked it
Liked. Can't remember much about. But, did.
Jun 27, 2012 Jess rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mother and daughters, book clubs
Shelves: funny
This was definitely one of those books that lies on your shelf until you almost give it away, then when you take the time to read it, it surprises the heck out of you.

The novel begins with Roz Rosenzweig, a snarky and cynical New York Jew, crawling on her hands and knees outside of her friend's apartment for a key in the bushes, where she meets her future husband, the Nebraska-born Edwin Anderson. Roz is no-nonsense and doesn't take anything too seriously, including, at first, Edwin. But Edwin's
Sep 11, 2009 Jaclyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jaclyn by: found it on the library shelf
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 19, 2014 Mike rated it liked it
[Actually I would give this three-and-a-half stars if the system allowed such finer levels of delineation.] This book turned out to be an unexpected surprise and pleasure. I simply found it at random, by chance, on the shelf at the library, and decided to check it out and give it a try. I'm glad I did. No doubt the author's distinctive, unusual, rare and very unique, intriguing first name drew me in as well. I've never before come across anyone named Thisbe. (The author, by the way, is another ...more
Aug 12, 2012 Margaret rated it liked it
Roz and Edwin are an unlikely match. She is an outgoing, Jewish, Manhattan girl four years older than Edwin. Edwin is quiet, Protestant and Nebraska-born. But they complement each other in spite of those differences and manage to work through their marriage until their daughter, Miranda, enters fifth grade. After a fairly amicable divorce, Miranda and Roz wend their way through the mother-daughter relationship as they tell each other everything, keep secrets from each other, lean on each other, ...more
Apr 22, 2009 Jenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really enjoyable read, with great insight into what it's like to grow up in New York (I think), as well as an accurate portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship, and of friendships and other relationships as well. The author does a skillful job of covering a lot of ground, time-wise, and the characters seem authentic at every age: Miranda at twelve is different from Miranda at 15 and from Miranda at 18. Though we stay with Miranda and Roz throughout the story, other characters (with the ...more
Apr 28, 2013 Risa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast-paced book with some insightful moments. I bought it because one of my favorite authors, Elinor Lipman, gave it such an enthusiastic blurb. Not sure it hangs together in the end, and my guess is that one's overall reaction to it will have much to do with where one is in one's one life at the moment. To wit: I loved the mother; the teenage daughter who takes over the narrative midway through - I wanted to just shake her and shout, "Get Over Yourself! Stop being so self-involved and so rude ...more
Aug 10, 2007 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just read this on vacation as it was on our host's bookshelf. I had wanted to read it when it first came out and Thisbe Nissen was new wunderkind, girl author of the moment.

For a 2nd novel, it is very well developed. I loved the characters and the general story development. As it focuses on a mother/daughter relationship, I would say that it is a bit more of "chick" book, though not in the Bridget Jones sense.
Jul 21, 2016 Lindsey rated it really liked it
I finished reading The Good People of New York by Thisbe Nissen this afternoon. This book was truly a mother-daughter story of Roz and Miranda. The book starts when Roz meets Miranda's father, Edwin, and continues to follow the life of Roz and Miranda after Roz and Edwin divorce. Nothing truly Earth shattering happens in this story, but overall, I really did enjoy it. And, I appreciated at the end that Miranda finally understood and appreciated her mom for who she was.
Oct 28, 2012 Michael rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
I didn't think people wrote "New York" novels any more but I was wrong. It's a pleasant, light read. Meaning, at least partly, that I'm not sure why it was written. The characters come alive most of the time, and the narrative is strong enough to pull you into the next chapter. The biggest failing is the elisions in character development. For example, it's never quite clear what is at the root of the core conflict between Roz and Miranda. I enjoyed reading it, but I'm not sure why.
Oct 22, 2008 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I got this one at the library. While I want to like it, and have it remind me of New York in a wistful way, the author uses about 30 descriptive words per sentence making it hard to follow. Even though the descriptions are kind of funny, it's overkill to use so many all at once, time after time. I might end up ditching it and starting something else.
Mar 20, 2015 Marian added it
I picked this book up on whim at the library one day and I'm very glad I did. The mother-daughter relationship in this book is very unique and makes for an interesting read. I liked that we got to see glimpses of the characters over the years, to see how they grew and developed. If you like family drama with romance in between then this is the book for you.
Jan 19, 2016 Megan rated it liked it
This book started out strong, but I thought it got weaker as it went along. The chapters showed snapshots of a mother/daughter relationship throughout the daughter's life. I liked that it took place in New York City, but I really wished that the author had been more descriptive. I never got attached to either of the main characters and I wished that the story was not as choppy as it was.
May 06, 2008 Linda rated it it was ok
Maybe it's that when I tried to get to reading this book, it was too late at night so I couldn't fully get into it or appreciate it, but I didn't even finish it. I disliked it that much. I couldn't get in to the characters or the story. I got it off the library shelves on a whim- sometimes those picks go well, sometimes (like this one) they fall flat).
Oct 05, 2010 Alex rated it did not like it
Full disclosure: I only read the first two pages of this book. But they were so unbearably awful that I couldn't read more. Run-on sentences, too many clauses, overuse and misuse of modifiers (a skirt was "irrevocably short"), and similes that are hardly that ("like gawkers at a rooftop suicide"), all in some vain attempt at wit. Don't even bother.
Jan 22, 2009 Sarah rated it it was ok
Thisbe Nissen develops characters in this book solely by making them Jewish. This explains why Miranda is half as well-developed as a character as Roz, and why Edwin is just a ghostly plot-furthering device. I might have given 3 stars to an all-Roz novel, or a short story about Miranda, but switching back and forth between the two didn't work for me.
Jul 03, 2007 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2007june
An interesting perspective on linear storytelling. The book does travel straight through time, but between chapters, jumps forward varying amounts. You never quite get the whole story -- the end of one chapter approaches climax and then you're two months or two years or more ahead.

But the characters are interesting and the story is universal.
Aug 25, 2008 Mary rated it liked it
I might have given this four stars, but some of the chapters are in the past tense and some are the present tense (those about the daughter's perspective) and it switches back and forth. This is probably deep and wrought with significance, but as far as I am concerned it was just distracting.
Andy Plonka
Feb 23, 2013 Andy Plonka rated it really liked it
Not the book I thought I was getting. I expected a read alike for S. J. Boltonand ir is nothing like her books but an interesting take on the generations that grew up in the 70's, 80's and 90's in New York and small town America.
Jun 27, 2008 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just get a great feeling from this book - not sure exactly why but Thisbe just does a great job of getting a good feel out of the characters. One of the few contemp books that I can read and feel like what I'm reading is really well-written fiction. Really really enjoyed this book.
Jul 08, 2016 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2016-reads
Another tale of the complicated nature of mother/daughter relationships and life in general. This book actually helped me relax about the nature of my own relationship with my teenaged daughter. Such a complicated beast of emotions, turf, and independence.
Jun 02, 2009 Nisi rated it it was amazing
This has been in my top five books since I've been in high school. A nice amount time is covered with these characters- and yet it feels perfectly paced. One of the few mother daughter stories out there that don't get too sappy or too horiffic.
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Thisbe Nissen is the author of the story collection, Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night, and two novels, The Good People of New York and Osprey Island. She also co-authored-and-collaged The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook with Erin Ergenbright. Thisbe's work is forthcoming, or has recently been published in Story Quarterly, The Virginia Quarterly, Glimmer Train, and The Cincinnati Review. She's taugh ...more
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