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Surrender, Dorothy

3.23 of 5 stars 3.23  ·  rating details  ·  530 ratings  ·  69 reviews
It's August in New York City, and 30-year-old Sara Swerdlow is headed to Long Island, where she and her best friends aim to while away their days dissecting each other's love lives, careers, and the rundown condition of the cottage they've faithfully rented since college. A graduate student in Japanese studies at Columbia University, Sara is beautiful, charming, and stubbo ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 2nd 1999 by Scribner Book Company
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,032)
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Kristin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
M
I would like to rename this book: Who Cares? The book revolves around the untimely death of a woman whose charm is lost on me (not just charm, she is depicted as somewhat God like, let's ignore the fact that she had an affair with her best friend's husband, she is still angelic and beautiful and all things good) and whose friends and mother mourn her miserably in some ugly summer house. Yeeha. I like depressing but this wasn't even enjoyable - it was just boring. I didn't care that she died, I d ...more
Janelle
This was a difficult book to read as a thirty-something, especially as a childless thirty-something who'd recently lost her mother.

I've always felt that "friends are the family we choose for ourselves" and have had close circles of friends. We all want to believe that we've made a significant enough impact on people's lives that it wouldn't be easy for them to move on. But loving them, we also don't want the loss to be hard on them.

Although I didn't find the characters all that likable, the sto
...more
Maureen O'keefe
This is an interesting story about a mother's and group of friends' reactions to a girl's sudden death. The character development is good, but the plot is weak. The entire time you are reading this book, you feel as if you're going to go somewhere, but you never do. It's almost as if you are experiencing a tension the entire time you are reading. Perhaps this is Wolitzer's goal. Her characters and story in this novel actually made me uncomfortable. One could say that this, in itself, is an art f ...more
Roxanne

Wolitzer is extremely easy to read. I started with The Wife, after toxicpickle gave it to me (I recommend it).

Sara, the much-loved central character, dies early in the novel, and the rest is spent mourning her. She is the tie that binds her friends together - the hub of the wheel; only after her death is each character released. It's a fascinating idea, that a person can be so compelling that people around her are pulled into her gravitational field.
Mary
I didn't realize that I had seen this movie until I read the part where either the mother or daughter would say, "Surrender, Dorothy," each time the other one picked up the phone. As soon as I read it, I remembered it from the movie, and how much I hated that goofy phrase. I looked up reviews on both the movie and the book and decided not to finish the book since they sound exactly the same and I didn't much care for the movie. It was just o.k.
Steven
Because I had read a couple of tepid reviews of this book, I didn’t expect to enjoy it very much. To my great surprise, I found it deeply moving, delicately written, psychologically perceptive, and wickedly witty in the way it characterizes the failings (both real and imagined) of the characters. It’s the story of a young woman who dies suddenly in an accident and how her mother and a group of friends who shared a summer home with her come to terms with their loss. “Surrender, Dorothy” rings ver ...more
Laurel-Rain
In a mustard-colored house in the Hamptons, four friends gather every August. They are thirty-something these days, and sometimes, they can scarcely bear to revisit the dilapidated and somewhat trashy house. But sentiment and habit draw them back every year.

But this year will be a very different one for Peter, Maddy, Adam and Sara. In the first week of this, their summer retreat, Sara will die in a car accident.

It happens when Sara and Adam are returning from buying ice cream at the Fro-Z-Cone s
...more
Dawn
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Judith
When I took this off the shelf the other day I thought it might be chicklit and wondered what I was doing with it. But the back suggested another story, so I dug in.

It's about death. Death of a 30-year-old woman who was struggling to find her place in the world, who knew she had hardly begun. Sara Swerdlow was close to her mother and close to a few friends, and her death affected them all profoundly. Her closest friends, her mother, and a few young people who didn't really know her find themselv
...more
Cherie
A- An interesting book; a woman who is very close to her daughter is destroyed when her daughter dies, but so are her friends. But whose pain is it? The mother almost "owns" the death, and doesn't want to share with the friends, but when she allows her daughter's friends into the grieving process, secretes are revealed and healing can eventually begin.
Judith Yeabsley
A book with no plot that was well written enough to keep one engaged. It revolves around a group of friends and the mother of a girl killed suddenly in an accident and the way they all deal with the emotions and fallout. Imperfect and diverse characters and although a depressing subject not really a depressing book.
Marion
I finished this book because I enjoy Meg Wolitzer's writing. Having read The Interestings first, I saw the seeds of the later book all throughout this one. As a recommendation, I would say go straight to The Interestings. It is well... more interesting.
Sue K.
I was very surprised when I reviewed my books and saw that this is the 6th book I have read that was written by Meg Wolitzer. This story was okay - not bad but not page-turning either. My favorite book by this author is definitely 'The Wife'.
Djuna Wojton
I discovered this book accidentally. When I watched the movie version of it, I knew I had to read the book. Afterwards I read everything Meg Wolitzer has published. Her work is so witty, intelligent, and funny, she was a delightful discovery.
Jessica Nemczuk
This book was just ok. It was fairly interesting, but it was not a page-turner. Not much happened throughout the book, at least in terms of action. Characters did develop, but I was looking for a book with a little more.
Theresa
Sorry, Not worth my time

Sorry, Not worth my time

dull, unappealing topic and characters. read for book club is the only reason I finished it. I didn't relate to any of the characters


Lola
Yet another ponderous adult novel. I'm starting to believe that the art of writing adult novels is dead. I've yet to read a truly good one from the last two decades. Same cliche "What am I going to do with my life? Where am I going?" questions asked.

The only thing that earned this book a second star was that fact that I saw a lot of my mom and me in Sara and her mother. My mom is my best friend, and in a way I am her best friend. If I died, my mom would be completely shattered. If she died, I
...more
Sam
I read a lot of really terrible books immediately before reading this, so I'm not entirely sure if this is really a four star book or if it's just a reaction to the shit that came before.
KimHooperWrites
I didn't love this book, but I didn't hate it either. It reminded me of a play, with most of the action taking place in one location and most of the story based on conversations between the characters. Grief is a funny thing and I'm always morbidly interested in reading stories that deal with it head-on. This is a light read for a heavy subject. In the end, I thought the characters were pretty well-developed and I was interested enough in seeing in through. I like Wolitzer's other books better t ...more
Paula
Kind of on a Meg Wolitzer binge...love her writing. The stories themselves don't move all that fast, but the observational prose -- it's really, really good.
Yulia
Jul 26, 2008 Yulia marked it as left-unfinished  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-lit
On reading the first line, I knew this book wasn't for me, but it'd get too complicated explaining why. I'd come off suggesting everyone was hiding his or her latent homosexual inclinations, but where would that get me? And it's not fair to judge a book whose premise I don't accept. So no, this isn't a review, but an explanation of why I can't read or review this book: because in the end it's all too transparent to me how my understanding of the world differs from Wolitzer's simple face-value co ...more
Brittany
Not sure I would read it again. An interesting read, but not something on my "have to recommend" list.

I didn't like how Maddy just seemed to forgive Peter for his cheating, both with Sara and Natalie. I can understand if Wolitzer had followed their stories into the fall and there she forgave Peter, but within days, it just doesn't seem enough for me.

I did like that she kept the story limited to the summer house and didn't follow their stories because it was a turning point for them and their li
...more
Sarah
Not my favorite Wolitzer book but I enjoyed it. Interesting perspective on the mother.
Jenan
Good read, as are all Wolitzer titles
Susan
May 21, 2014 Susan marked it as to-read
Shelves: bh-library-book
PS3573.O564 S87 1999
Tara
did not lile this book. Once the main character died the plot did too.
Wendy
I'm not sure why this one didn't do it for me -- nothing wrong with it structurally, and Wolitzer's writing is accessible. The premise is also strong. But for some reason I never engaged with the characters. They didn't feel like people I would choose to be friends with, which made it harder for me to empathize with them. And in a book about overcoming loss, that's a fatal blow. But I do think it's worth reading, and I'm sure I'm in the minority as far as this novel goes.
Barbara Landes
Didn't love it but enjoyed her writing. I'll try her again.
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Meg Wolitzer is the author of The Ten-Year Nap and seven previous novels, including The Position and The Wife . Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize.

Author photo copyright Deborah Copaken.
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More about Meg Wolitzer...
The Interestings Belzhar The Ten-Year Nap The Uncoupling The Wife

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