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Living Room: A Novel
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Living Room: A Novel

3.11 of 5 stars 3.11  ·  rating details  ·  81 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The follow-up to her highly praised debut story collection, The First Hurt, Rachel Sherman’s Living Room is a beautiful and disarmingly direct portrait of a family in trouble. With the tone of a modern-day Jewish The Ice Storm set in Long Island, imbued with Alice Munro’s fascination with personal history, Living Room is a deep exploration of the ripple effects of mental i...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Grove Press, Open City Books
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Heather
A story told from three different perspectives, spanning three generations, this book was just OK. Even though the daughter ends up in the hospital, the mother faces sexual ambiguity and questions about where her life went off track, and the grandmother dies... it felt like nothing really happened.

Where Rachel really dropped the ball was voice. The three female characters were so different, yet their seperate chapters were all writen in the same style, with the same attitude. I feel like she ha...more
eb
The ability to write in an unsentimental, truthful way sounds like a prerequisite, something you'd have to get good at to publish novels, but in fact, hardly anyone can do it. Rachel Sherman can. This novel about three women (a grandmother, a daughter-in-law, a high school kid), contains so much truth it almost hurts to read it. I could have done with a *little* bit less of the grandma crawling around on the floor; I dreaded her chapters after a while. But I was fascinated by Livia and her chips...more
Stephanie
Another book review for the Saroyan Prize. This book had potential.

This novel, set in Long Island, tells the tale of three generations of women, all with a certain level of social dysfunctionality. As the novel shifts back and forth from the perspectives of each woman, you can see the flaws and strengths of each character as reflected by the other characters. The author does a passable job at capturing the voices of these three women all at different stages of life -- the moping teenager, the un...more
Gene
I won this book at a fiction reading, at which Rachel Sherman was reading, by answering a question about The Breakfast Club: What does Ally Sheedy's character reply when Emilio Esteves' character asks what her parents do to her? And the answer, of course, is, "They ignore me." So free book, woo!

I enjoyed Rachel's reading at the event, and very much enjoyed this novel, which is about real people and their real problems. The story is told with much humor and clear-eyed insight, with a refreshing l...more
Rebecca
Great title.

But this book didn't have any life. The characters are flat and so obviously assembled, not complex or mysterious human beings. It felt almost like a worksheet novel to me. Each character has her list of qualities (Livia = unsatisfied housewife; eating disorder) and is duly assigned her conflict (attracted to lesbian client) and moves through the arc that her conflict demands, and yet these things don't add up to anything remotely interesting. It was so predictable that I began to d...more
April
I'm halfway through the book & feel guilty for giving up since I've already invested time to finish half of it. I rarely give up on a book; however, I just don't care about any of these people. Grandma lays on the floor all day, mom is unhappy & has an eating disorder, & the teenage girl is going teenage girl stuff. I just don't care & none of these people are interesting. I'm not invested in what happens to them which is too bad because this book could have been so much more.
Johanna DeBiase
Beautifully written. The characters are average women dealing with the complexities that occur at different stages of life. I was easily drawn into their dramas as the author did a good job of trusting the reader to draw their own conclusions, instead of over-explaining or sentimentalizing the story. Just as in real life, things don't simply conclude, but instead, begin to evolve and I was content to let the characters go, certain that things were changing for them for the better.
Ruth
I liked this book. It's about 3 women; a mom, her daughter and her mother in-law. They are all dealing with their place in life and while the mom's character was completely unlikable, the story was engaging and interesting. Headie, the grandma is at the end of her life, Abby, the daughter is a teen dealing with adolescent issues, and Livia the mom, is just pathetic all the way around.
Kelly
I thought it was a slow read not very gripping, but easy to read. The characters in the book were also very sad from the grandmother who was dying with many regrets, to the mother with her ongoing depression, and the adolescent daughter who was just alone going through her teenage years with this weird foreign young adult au pair in the house. I would not recommend it.
Marjanne
I liked this novel though I can't quite pinpoint why. The characters were complex and matured throughout the novel. I liked the way the three lead female characters set each other apart, but also tied into each other as well. In ways this book was difficult to read, but the author kept my interest and I was curious to see what happened with each character.
Jennifer
I hate reading a book and getting some what involved in the characters(even though they are quite boring) and not getting any sort of resolution. The stories had no conclusion, the story got vauge in the end, ie, what happened in the woods, was the mom a lesbian? Dissapointed in this read.
Amy
I wanted to like this book but didn't. I put it down after 125 pages or so. I found too much of it too silly, in particular the way Sherman wrote about the old character, who rolls around on her floor, noticing ants.
Sue
Good. On Long Island. Grandmother - old and dying. Lives alone. Son Jeremy married to Livia who secretly binge eats. Daughter Abby drinks too much.
Dysmonia Kuiper
A book about a bunch of miserable women connected by familial obligation. Not chick lit. As a miserable woman, I could relate.
Kady Bone
Reading this was a total waste of time. How do some books get published?
Jen
Interesting characters (2 out of 3 of them) but a really scattered ending
Jess
maybe a 1.5
I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
Caitlyn
Caitlyn marked it as to-read
Sep 02, 2014
Erin
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Jul 31, 2014
Maura Badji
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Rachel
Rachel marked it as to-read
Nov 07, 2013
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