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The Three Weissmanns of Westport

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2.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,658 Ratings  ·  1,449 Reviews
A New York Times Best Seller
A New 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
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Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Picador (first published February 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Elisa M
Aug 15, 2012 Elisa M rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
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
Mar 18, 2010 Malena Watrous rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Melissa
Sep 12, 2011 Melissa rated it it was ok
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
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Nicholas
Mar 15, 2010 Nicholas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Lnaimark
Feb 23, 2011 Lnaimark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Bonnie Brody
Feb 29, 2012 Bonnie Brody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 -
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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
Ginny_1807
Sep 06, 2012 Ginny_1807 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romanzi
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
Judith
Jul 26, 2010 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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Susan
Oct 29, 2011 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Sheila DeChantal
The Three Weissmann’s Of Westport is a book I pulled off my shelf for our recent trip to Mexico. It looked like just the type of read I would enjoy while sitting at the pool. I was right. The book I found right from the start shocking, a 78 year old man after spending more than 50 years of his life with a woman decides to throw it all away for a younger, prettier, and quite honestly…. gold digger. I found myself flying through the pages waiting for Joseph to come to his senses.

Does he?

Well…. I c
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Bobby
Mar 19, 2012 Bobby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
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Maxine
May 05, 2013 Maxine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Joanna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
JoAnn
Jun 15, 2012 JoAnn rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
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
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Delia Franklin
Mar 05, 2014 Delia Franklin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dorothy
Nov 10, 2015 Dorothy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every now and then you find a book that you can't put down, so you read it in a couple of marathon sessions - then feel disappointed that it's over. This was one of those books for me.

I don't know why, really, as in theory it shouldn't have been. It's not a thriller, there's no action or suspense, and no great mystery to be resolved. It's simply a story of a woman whose husband is divorcing her, and her two daughters. But it's so engagingly told, I loved every minute.

There are moments where you'
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Sharyn
May 19, 2015 Sharyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has been on my shelf for quite some time. and I decided to read it for a book club theme that was Mother's and daughters in honor of Mother's Day. If it were not for a book club read I may not have read past page 50, because that is sort of a rule (that I do break often) that if I don't like it in 50 pages, quit reading. The theme, Betty a 75 year old wife, is kicked out of her apt by her 78 year old husband who claims he wants a divorce for irreconcilable differences, when actually he ...more
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
Dec 13, 2009 Perkimom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Beth
Sep 28, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprised myself by really liking this book...the author has such a "calm writing style" which contrasts well with the chaos her characters are experiencing.
Kassandra
Sep 19, 2014 Kassandra rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-rc
Oh boy...I really wanted to like this one. It came highly recommended to me but it was a total miss for me. I wish I was able to abandon books, I would have let this one go long before I made it to the 50th page. Unfortunately I can't so I had to slog through it and it was tough going. It was as though Schine created a promising story with some mediocre characters and then realized halfway through that she couldn't salvage the characters. Instead of going back to the drawing board, she flipped t ...more
Trish
I am not quite sure why this book has such a low overall rating, 2.86 stars. My guess is the Austenophiles get their hopes up for another Jane book and since no book will ever live up to their expectations they rate these books very low. All I can say to these people is, “Why do you bother? Just stop reading follow-ups, and modernized versions because they will NEVER live up to your standards.” I had gotten this book at the library for 25 cents, and it sat on my bookshelf for years because I kep ...more
Susan
Dec 17, 2010 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Patty
Jul 21, 2013 Patty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, house-theme
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
Kathy
Mar 20, 2011 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
BookSweetie
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
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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.
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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.” 22 likes
“It was not that the woman boasted. Quite the opposite. She was modest to a fault, the fault being she insinuated her modesty, deftly, into almost any conversation, proclaiming her insignificance and ignorance, thereby assuring a correction.” 3 likes
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