The Three Weissmanns of Westport
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The Three Weissmanns of Westport

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2.86 of 5 stars 2.86  ·  rating details  ·  5,386 ratings  ·  1,275 reviews
A New York Times Best Seller
ANew York Times Book Review Editors' Choice


Betty Weissmann has just been dumped by her husband of forty-eight years. Exiled from her elegant New York apartment by her husband’s mistress, she and her two middle-aged daughters, Miranda and Annie, regroup in a run-down Westport, Connecticut, beach cottage. In Schine’s playful and devoted homage to...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Picador (first published February 2nd 2010)
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Elisa M
I could only get halfway through this book. I found that I didn't care about the characters at all, and the plot was not exactly riveting either. Parts of it are funny, especially the way that Betty refers to herself as a widow and her (soon-to-be-ex) husband as dead ("may his soul rest in peace"). It wasn't enough to keep me going.
Malena Watrous
What I love about this book is (to use an Austen catchphrase) the author's sensibility, comic and divine. The same subject--an older woman abandoned and badly treated by her husband of half a century, left to make do with her middle aged and maladjusted daughters--could have been treated as a tragedy. But Schine sees the frailty and self-deceptions in all of her characters, and she manages to smile upon them nonetheless, or because of their all too human (and all too familiar) weaknesses. She's...more
Beverly
This book suffers from being overpraised in the New York Tmes (by the dull garden writer Dominique Browning). It also suffers from Schine's use of Sense and Sensibility for her plot. Even though Sense and Sensibility is the weakest of Jane Austen's five major novels (not counting Northanger Abbey), it makes a lot more sense than this book does. In Austen's world social order was established through marriage. Here in Schine's the romances of middle aged and elderly people are of consequence only...more
Lnaimark
Picked this book up at the Nashville airport for my trip back to San Jose. It does work as an "airplane book" but I found myself continually being annoyed by the characters. The amazingly self-centered father Joseph, his manipulative new girlfriend Felicity, the "wronged" mother, Betty, and her two daughters.

Betty gets banished to a shack in Connecticut and gets every single penny of her funds cut off, while Joseph and Felicity get to stay in the fantastic apartment on Central Park West. And no...more
Bonnie Brody
This is a very intelligent, poignant, and hilarious book that has parallels to Jane Austen's 'Sense and Sensibility'. Whether or not the reader is familiar with Austen, this is a book to love and relish. It is a thinker's book and a reader's book, a book written by an author who respects her readers' intelligence and knowledge of culture.

The book begins when Josie, 78 years old, tells his 75 year old wife, Betty, that he wants a divorce. They have been married for over 40 years. You guessed it -...more
Ginny_1807
Drammone al femminile in odore di soap, che, per ragioni diverse, coinvolge un terzetto di mature signore della buona società newyorkese, la madre e due figlie sulla cinquantina, in un patetico esodo dalla città al fine di dare una svolta alla propria vita e in una macchinosa serie di escursioni amorose nelle direzioni più disparate e infauste. L’idea del divorzio tardivo dei genitori mi era sembrata interessante, ma mi hanno infastidito il clima artificiosamente spensierato, il tono frivolo dei...more
Melissa
You should never pay attention to a blurb that reads, "...homage to Jane Austen." It will invariably set you up for a big letdown. Because the truth is, nothing is as good as Jane Austen.

In short: Modern day Upper West Side AARP husband, dumps dutiful wife for younger, VP from his company. Dumped wife moves with two aging daughters to a cottage in Connecticut while divorce is finalized. Wife, daughters meet a hodgepodge of characters; advanced aged daughters constantly whine about the state of t...more
Nick
I read the fantastic review of The Three Weissmanns in the NYTimes Book Review a couple weeks ago. I've read Cathleen Schine before (The Evolution of Jane) and was not thrilled. But this review was stellar and made it sound like it was totally up my alley. And it was. Schine is really quite funny in The Three Weissmanns, especially in her characterizations of the protagonists, Betty Weissmann in particular. There is something about the way that Betty engages with the world without having caught...more
Judith
A modern day version of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility", absolutely delightful read. I could identify with all of the characters: the mother, whose husband decides at the ripe old age of 75 that he wants a younger wife, after 50 years of happy marriage; the 2 daughters, who are both on the cusp of being past their "sell-by" dates; and all the delightfully colorful characters who populate this book. Though it's mostly tongue-in-cheek funny, there are some very sad parts to the book, includi...more
Susan
I vacillated between giving this novel two or three stars.

I do think that I expected more from this book after reading reviews on the book flap and from book sellers, and I generally enjoy character-driven narratives. Sure, I sympathized somewhat with Betty, the 75 year old woman who is dumped by her 78 year old husband for a younger woman (how cliched) and forced to move from a life of luxury to one quite different, and her two daughters, each with her own baggage. However, I was disappointed...more
Bobby
I have to admit there were many pages within the covers of this book that I considered not worth reading, yet as a whole it was a decent read.

The beginning of the novel captured me as I read about the woman who I believed would be a central character, a woman whose husband of 48 years was divorcing to be with a younger woman. The writing was enigmatic, drawing the reader in to feel the same confusion as this woman and drawn to her wholly. Alas, since this was a modernization of Jane Austen's "S...more
Patty
This novel is being hailed as a modern day interpretation of Sense and Sensibility. The book is about a women who after almost 50 years of marriage finds out her husband is having an affair, and wants her to move out of their home in Central Park West, NYC, while divorce proceedings take place. He is seventy eight and she is seventy five. ?REALLY? After almost 50 years he states that there are irreconcilable differences and he wants to move on. Okay, I can't even imagine after almost 50 years of...more
Laurel
Less sense, more sensibility

There are so many reviews of this modern retelling of Jane Austen's novel Sense and Sensibility about I feel very late to the party. Here are my impressions.

My Quibbles: The main characters were pretty shallow, self-absorbed and difficult to connect with; slim caricatures of Austen's originals. Two fifty-something unmarried ladies and a seventy-something divorcee talking about themselves and wallowing in misery is not Austenish, at all. What happened to a witty comedy...more
Maxine
The beginning of this novel is really the end of sorts. Joe, asks his wife of 48 years, Betty, for a divorce. He cites irreconcilable differences. Betty says, “Irreconcilable differences? What does that have to do with divorce?” The rose colored glasses are off and we are shocked and upset with Betty. How can this be?

While trying to be a gentleman, Joe, on the advice of his lawyers, has cancelled all his wife’s credit cards and suggests she leave their upper scale apartment. This irreconcilable...more
Joanna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
JoAnn
Modern adaptations of classic novels seem to be everywhere lately and The Three Weissmanns of Westport, inspired by Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, is one of the best I've come across. It's nearly as smart and witty as Jane herself, plus it's teeming with literary references.

I snapped it up (for only $1.50) at the library book sale last summer for two reasons. First and foremost, I love Jane Austen. Second, in the late 80's I lived near Westport, CT and was drawn to the setting. I was not d...more
Jenny  (hades2) (Chocolate Chunky Munkie)
This novel really failed on all levels for me. The blurb on the back of the book held such promise and I was really looking forward to getting my teeth into it. The first page was really exciting, but from then on it suddenly all went downhill for me.

I failed to find a connection with the three main leading ladies Betty (Mother), Miranda (Daughter) and Annie (Daughter). They had traits which I found both annoying and nauseating; this spoiled the whole book for me. I felt very unsympathetic towa...more
Delia Franklin
I enjoyed this book. I liked the fact the characters were thrown together under extraordinary circumstances in their lives, and the characters themselves were amusing and likeable. The story was pretty good, too; it had structure and a satisfying conclusion. The writing style was pleasing and all in all, this book was a good, girly (but not frothy) read.
Kelly
Okay, so I really liked the part where one of the characters described the feeling of being on Connecticut commuter trains (lovely and true), and the freaked out New Yorkers' reactions when they come to "the country". Oooh, so accurate.

The rest irritated me. I reap my just rewards for ignorning Elizabeth's review.
Perkimom
This was a fun romp--a hoot, involving families, particularly the women in families--as they discover each other again in adulthood in unfamiliar surroundings and circumstances.
Ellie
The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine is just about a perfect book. It begins with Betty Weissman, 76, and her husband, Josie (short for Joseph) in their upper West Side apartment. Josie tells Betty he wants a divorce. Soon Betty and her two middle-aged daughters, Annie (single mother of two grown sons) and Miranda (book agent recently ruined when two of her authors are discovered to have invented their memoirs) find themselves clinging together on a lifeboat in the guise of a smal...more
Susan
Cathleen Schine bases her didactic and entertaining novel THE EVOLUTION OF JANE (1998) on the precious and fruitful conceit, that the contours of friendship and differentiation of young girls follow Darwin's theory of evolution. Or is it the other way around, that Darwin's observations of flora and fauna on the Galapagos can be understood in terms of young friendship?

That the novel is successful means that the metaphor cuts both ways. The story of Jane's engagement with and estrangement from he...more
Kathy
I seem to be in the minority on Goodreads on this one, but I found this little homage to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility to be rather charming. Betty, whose husband of 48 years has just left her, finds herself rather unceremoniously unseated from her NYC apartment and moves to Westport into a cousin's cottage. Coming along for the ride are her two daughters, Miranda and Annie, both of whom are having financial and personal issues.

No, this is not Sense and Sensibility. But it is a pleasant r...more
Kristine
This is a comedy of domestic proportions -- at least, a good portion of this quick read elicited my inner smile and my outer laugh-out-loud guffaws; the last third proved somewhat less smile-worthy as the author began wrapping up the plot lines. Don't misunderstand me. The mood might dampen a bit at moments, but the author clearly does not want to leave readers without a number of upbeat, even if improbable, endings. This is a clever, character-centric read, but if you don't connect to the humo...more
L.
I had no expectations for the book, I simply picked it up as something to keep me entertained as I sat in a waiting room. I chose to ignore the blurbs about Jane Austen, because I knew if I latched onto that I'd just end up disappointed. It wasn't offensive, and was not exactly a waste of time, but at the end, I felt no more attached to the characters than I did when I originally picked it up. The first 50 pages were entertaining and had potential, it deteriorated from there.

I found myself not...more
Bridget
This was another book that I had read reviews about, and thought might be fun to read. I found a copy at the library, and snapped it up off the shelf before anyone else could get it!

The characters in the title are a mother and her two grown daughters, all of whom move to a cousin's house on the beach in Westport, Connecticut when various things start to go wrong in their lives.

The book starts when Betty Weismann learns that her husband Joseph has plans to divorce her and marry his younger assis...more
Karen
A couple that has been happily married for years and years (and years) suddenly hits a bump in the road in the form of (you guessed it) a younger woman. In a familiar story, she is a secretary who sets out to lure her boss from his wife. They have two grown daughters who are not married who are also involved: their lives are dramatically changed by the separation of their parents as well as other events happening in their personal lives. The wife, Betty, adopts the story that her she is a widow...more
Margaret H.
A book that sets out to re-tell an Austen story is taking on an incredible challenge. While she remains eternally popular, it seems like so few of her fans genuinely understand what sets her apart from the Regency romances she has inspired. Thankfully, Cathleen Schine seems to love *and* understand Austen, and this re-telling of Sense and Sensibility is inspired. Her wit is somewhat less trenchant than Austen's, and the status of her middle-aged characters as "girls" is a little jarring, but I c...more
Lynn
I got more than I expected from this one. It's the story of a family which is usually a good beginning The family consists of a mother, her two daughters and "Josie", the husband and step-father. At 78 Josie has fallen in love with a calculating, much younger woman and asks his wife, Betty for a divorce. She, along with her two middle-aged daughters, Miranda and Anne decides to more to Westport where a cousin has offered the use of his vacant summer cottage. So, you might think you know where th...more
Valerie Petersen
I was surprised at how well written this book was. After nearly 50 years of marriage, Joseph Weissmann announces that he's leaving his wife Betty for the younger, manipulative Felicity. Having never worked a day in her life, and with access to her bank account cut off while "Josie" works out the details of their divorce, the somewhat dotty Betty is forced to decamp to a cottage in Westport owned by her cousin Lou. She's joined by her middle-aged daughters, the sensible Annie, divorced with two g...more
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Jane Austen Sequels: The Three Weissmann's of Westport, by Cathleen Schine 1 13 Oct 06, 2012 05:11PM  
  • Something Red
  • Sourland
  • The Golden Gizmo
  • The Same River Twice
  • The Three Colonels: Jane Austen's Fighting Men
  • Bound
  • The Friendly Jane Austen: A Well-Mannered Introduction to a Lady of Sense and Sensibility
  • Foreign Bodies
  • American Subversive
  • Death on the D-List (Hailey Dean, #2)
  • Comedy in a Minor Key
  • Fun With Problems
  • Conviction: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice
  • Searching for Captain Wentworth
  • The Spot
  • How to Read the Air
  • Jane Austen in Boca
  • Cassandra and Jane
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Cathleen Schine is the author of The New Yorkers, The Love Letter, and The Three Weissmanns of Westport among other novels. She has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review.
More about Cathleen Schine...
Fin & Lady: A Novel The New Yorkers The Love Letter The Evolution of Jane Alice in Bed

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“... there had been the two little boys. Now they were gone, too. They loved her and called her and sent her e-mails and would still snuggle up to her to be petted when they were in the mood, but they were men, and though they would always be at the center of her life, she was no longer at the center of theirs.” 14 likes
“Betty ran to the door in time to see a handsome young man dashing through the rain toward the house beside her daughter, both of them in pants embroidered with sea creatures - blue whales on his yellow pants, pink lobsters on her ill-fitting brick red pants - and matching pastel green cotton sweaters. When did Miranda buy such odd clothes? She imagined the two of them spotting eachother somewhere, kindred spirits, and starting up a conversation about their shared hobby of Extreme Wasp Attire.” 2 likes
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