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The Pretty One

2.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,726 ratings  ·  252 reviews
Perfect. Pretty. Political. For nearly forty years, The Hellinger sisters of Hastings-on-Hudson-namely, Imperia (Perri), Olympia (Pia), and Augusta (Gus)--have played the roles set down by their loving but domineering mother Carol. Perri, a mother of three, rules her four-bedroom palace in Westchester with a velvet fist, managing to fold even fitted sheets into immaculate ...more
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company
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2.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,726 ratings  ·  252 reviews

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Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
This was just ok, and I tried to get through it quickly to move on to a different book. I didn't expect much going in based on the rating and reviews, and I would give it a 2.5 myself.

I love the cover and the overall storyline, but all three sisters were just so annoying and selfish. I suppose Rosenfeld wrote them this way to make them more realistic, but it just ended up feeling forced. The squabbles between the sisters were eye-roll inducing, and I couldn't believe the way they reacted to cer
May 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm not really sure what to say about "The Pretty One". It is a fast and easy read. I finished it in one evening, but not because it was a real page-turner. I think that it held the promise to develop into something other than what it ended up being. I kept waiting for it to turn the corner and become a really great story, but it never got there.
The three sisters are just not that likable and their pettiness borders on annoying and frustrating. They don't seem capable of showing any kind of love
Feb 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Initially, I thought this one had everything to please me : a cute cover, an interesting tagline, a strong premise. I always like reading about family dynamics, especially about brothers and sisters' relationships. I was confident The Pretty One could easily fall somewhere between good and great.

Alas, it was not to be. And you guys know how much I hate writing negative reviews. I wish I could recommend all of the books I read, especially those received for review!

It started out okay, but quickly
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
As someone who has not had the smoothest relationship with her sister, I dove straight into this book expecting to identify with all the characters and love it. Instead a found a book that was frankly a bit of a downer. While this book was a quick and easy read, the sentence structure was short and choppy, and not terribly well composed. The writing, however, would not have bothered me if the story had held up, but you really felt like you spent 300 pages in the midst of a family squabble. The t ...more
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Sisters. Is there a more complicated but meaningful relationship in the world? Many authors have discussed this complex dynamic with varying levels of success — and being the oldest of two girls myself, I’m often drawn to tales of sisterhood and its many incarnations.

I went into The Pretty One hoping for an entertaining, thought-provoking examination of family — and while I got that in small bursts, those moments were few and far between. I found Rosenfeld’s novel to be a fairly depressing mash
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommended to mark by: katie Roiphe
Shelves: relationships
This novel took me by surprise. I was unprepared for what it was— an awkwardly comedic, and awkwardly written, story about white, professional, mid-aged, middle class sisters living in suburban New York in the year 2009. If it were in another format there would be a name for it: Romantic Comedy (movie) or Situation Comedy (TV series). In literature there is: Chick Lit and Woman’s fiction (two among many categories that inform a reader what they are about to delve into.) Maybe this could be calle ...more
Colleen Turner
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I reviewed this book for

Sisters. Arguably one of the most complicated types of relationships, these siblings seem to embody the love/hate archetype. Lucinda Rosenfeld’s The Pretty One gives us just such a relationship in the Hellinger sisters: three sisters ready to undermine and outshine each other at every opportunity while also being unable to live without the others.

Now I must admit that I don’t have any sisters. However, I have always been fascinated by this relationsh
Amanda Haley
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was a quick read for me and was entertaining but there was something missing for me from the three main characters (the sisters) and I didn't feel any connection to them. The conflict felt forced and was never clearly resolved, instead the characters agreed to ignore it.

This book reminded me a lot of The Weird Sisters. It also has three sisters with academic parents with names that they feel they have to "live up to."
Kathy Cooley
May 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was an ok read. Very quick. I must admit that contemporary fiction is not my favorite genre. My biggest problem is that none of the characters really grow. They are all in exactly the same place as they started. And I kept waiting for any one of the characters to become likeable and it never really happened.
Crystal Hiatt
Mar 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
Poorly constructed characterization and no plot to speak of.
All three sisters lacked any character depth, rather, Rosenfeld focused solely on the negative aspects of their personalities. There was nothing redeemable, likable or even realistic about them.
For a book that is supposed to be a character study in human relationships and sibling dynamics, it failed hard.
Ann Drewiske
Feb 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
I did not like this book.
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
I received this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

The Pretty One had too much of a contemporary, modern writing theme for my taste (not my cup of tea). I do not mind if there are a few pop culture references here or there, but when I was reading this novel, I only understood half the references (the novel is set in 2010, which is not mentioned until halfway through the book) that were made, because they were the kind of references you would understand at that moment in time, but
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Appears first on my blog: The Life of a Bibliophile
At the beginning of this month, I restarted the book club I'm in with my mother, sister, aunts and cousins. I had suggested this book off seeing 1 book review that made it sound decent enough and would appeal to my mother and aunt who aren't into the sci fi/fantasy/YA stuff that I tend to go for. Normally I never suggest a book without reading it, but apparently I can't bring a book I've already read to book club (But how else will I know if it'
Andrea P.
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review was originally published on Cozy Up With A Good Read

I love books about family relationships especially those dealing with siblings who are all different from one another. I honestly didn't feel that I got much out of this book when I finally finished it. So much seemed to happen in this story and nothing truly got resolved (at least inn my opinion).

What I really felt was that I was thrown into the story right away, and readers don't get much of a chance to get to know the characters.
Marybeth (Manhattan Reader)
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, ebook

So, when I first started reading this, like back earlier in the year, I was having a hard time relating for a lot of reasons. The main reasons were: Age, Experiences, and most importantly Sisters. I only have a brother and I can relate absolutely nothing with him, since he's much older than me and we have different interests. But then, I joined a sorority and I got over a thousand sisters overnight, except for my three line sisters who I spent 78 days and 8 minutes with each and every day talkin
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
There is always plenty of material to be had when you are writing about the complicated relationships that siblings can have. All three of the Hellinger sisters have had achievements in various forms in their lives and while they see each other frequently, they don't seem to really like each other very much. We are introduced to Pia first, whose story seems to be the most prominent for most of the book. Her trip to a New Year's brunch gives the reader a small background into her life and into he ...more
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-read-books
Review first published on my blog:

The Pretty One is a story of sisters - Perri, Pia, and Gus. Perri is the one with the successful business, a solid marriage, and accomplished kids. Olympia or Pia is the beautiful one choosing to be a single mother. Gus is the free spirit in the throes of a breakup.

However, sometimes all is not what it seems. All three have aspects of their lives they keep hidden - an old flame returning, an affair, and other things. Thei
Sharon Mcalister
Mar 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
This is a contemporary tale of the lives of three grown sisters and their relationships with each other. This review may be unfair because I did not like any of the main characters in this book. That feeling will surely
color this review. Each of these women is very self-centered. I felt that I was being pushed very hard to
suspend believability as to the true nature of these sisters. The most unbelievable sister is the youngest one.
While we are supposed to believe that she is a very intelligent l
Lisa Creane
I understand conflict. I understand ramping up the stakes. These are what guide modern books--tension--disaster--human turmoil. But I find it easier to take in historical or fantasy books, or frankly when the story involves one protagonist. But with three miserable, squabbling sisters whose parents are clueless and whose lives disintegrate through the book, it's unpleasant to keep reading. It's not like Lincoln, fighting the Civil War with the angst increasing every day. It's just a well-to-do A ...more
Jan 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-review
Three sisters, Three lives and one domineering mother. Perri is the perfect one in every sense with a family of her own and an utterly organised house. Olympia is a pretty and gorgeous one who is living her life as a single parent to her three-years old but can’t resist thinking about someone to share her dreams and fears with, cue her sperm donor. Gus is a political one who has just ended her relationship with her lesbian partner and quite strangely attracted to a dude guy. These three sisters ...more
May 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Sometimes you're in the mood for something light. Like when you're packing up a house, getting your energy back from extended traveling, and when the other book you're reading is anything but light (Paris, WWII, Jews). So I picked up this book and it was, indeed, light. I stayed with it, as there were things I liked about the premise (the impact of being labeled, family dynamics, etc.), but ultimately the characters felt too pigeonholed to be believed, and they were all pretty shrill. Plot-wise, ...more
Jan 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Meet the Hellinger sisters of Hastings-on-Hudson:

• Imperia (Perri): the eldest and the perfect sister. A mother of three and owner of a business, Perri leads a stressful life.

• Olympia (Pia): the pretty sister. She is an artist and a single mother, and she envies all that Perri has.

• Augusta (Gus): the lesbian sister. She makes her own rules and could care less about what her sisters think of her.

As Perri faces her 40th birthday, she experiences a midlife crisis. What she doesn’t know is that he
May 07, 2013 rated it liked it
The book jacket reads, "…turning her wickedly funny and sharply observant eye on the life-long pleasures and punishments of sisterhood." The Pretty One wasn't that funny. As a matter of fact I don't recall laughing at all. I have a sister but as she is 10 years older than I we aren't at all close (which is unfortunate) so I cannot relate to the closeness or pleasures of sisterhood. (Gosh, when she graduated high school I was 8 years old!) There is, in one character, the requisite gay character - ...more
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it

The Pretty One was a pretty good book. The dynamics of the sister relationship makes this book such a fascinating read. They all have such strong personalities and all three of them are a bit trapped by the labels given them all those years ago. I think Pia was my favorite sister. I can easily say that Perri annoyed the crap out of me in great detail, but even I started to feel a little empathy towards her later in the book. I did finish the book feeling l
i randomly grabbed this one from the new audiobooks without knowing much about it- mainly that it was about three sisters. as i am the youngest of three sisters, this appealed to me.

so much drama in the story. freak accidents, paternity surprises, extra-marital affairs, lesbians changing sides...and just when you think there can't be any more surprises...there are more surprises. it was all too much. plus the sisters' relationships with each other made me crazy. they were such jerks, always sayi
K.E. Garvey
May 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
Truly disappointed....

I had such a hard time getting into this book from the beginning.

Three sisters who have each had achievements and failures in their lives. But rather than empathize with each other or even try to understand, they seem to spend most of their time not liking each other and throwing barbs. Seriously, the dialogue is full of high school level snark and the sisters are constantly trying to one-up each other with predictable one-liners. I honestly couldn't find a character to roo
Nov 26, 2012 rated it liked it
A family drama steeped in pop-culture references, The Pretty One, follows the Hellinger family--Bob, Carol, Perri, Pia, and Gus--through accidents, health scares, break-ups and make-ups. The sisters are competitive and envious of one another--even though they are part of a loving family. Gossip and endless bickering threaten to rupture the sisters' relationships. Due in part to the supporting characters--Mike and Jeff Sims, Debbie, Patrick, and Lola--there is a happy ending. This book reminds us ...more
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I received this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

If you have a sister, you'll love this book.

The author did a great job with family members relating to one another, knowing their "hot buttons" and yet be protective of one another. The sisters see themselves as "labeled" (the smart one, the pretty one, the artistic one, the selfish one). It's not always done verbally....self perception has an effect also.

It doesn't matter how old one is, when the family gets together it's easy to
Jul 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013_reads
I enjoyed this book, and did not want to put it down. I even didn't have a desire to peak at the end (I do that sometimes, to see if a book is worth the effort . . .) Three sisters each have their own issues, their own thoughts, and their own rivalries. They are close in age and are all between ages 36 and 39. It was a nicely paced story, and even though it mostly wraps up in the end, the last sentence is kind of an odd way to wrap up the book - but I liked it, too. Notice the front cover. Now, ...more
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2013
I read this because Emily Giffin recommended one day on her Facebook page. I love all of Giffin's books, so I assumed I would feel the same about her recommendations. I felt that there was never a resolution. The sisters were not likable. I can deal with unlikable characters if there is some backstory as to why. The sisters were not good people. They were tirelessly envious of one another. It is such a sad way to live. They thought the worst of one another. If you think that way about your famil ...more
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Lucinda Rosenfeld is the author of five novels, including CLASS, a satire about parenting, public school, and the liberal bubble.
Please see: @authorlucindarosenfeld on Facebook. Purchase here:

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