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The Three Weissmanns of Westport

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2.93  ·  Rating details ·  8,248 ratings  ·  1,639 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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Average rating 2.93  · 
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 ·  8,248 ratings  ·  1,639 reviews


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Elisa M
Apr 15, 2010 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. ...more
Malena Watrous
Mar 16, 2010 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
Mel
Feb 10, 2011 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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Lnaimark
Feb 23, 2011 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
...more
Nicholas
Mar 15, 2010 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
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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Carol
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is a play on Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” I never cared for Jane Austen…put the rocks down folks… but have to admit that this was slightly more tolerable. The two daughters followed their mother to Uncle Lou’s cottage in Westport. CT. It wasn’t the Ritz by any stretch of the imagination but the three women started to try to put their lives back together. Annie…the librarian…tries to help the women sort things out. Miranda…the literary agent is under siege because the "memoirists" t ...more
Bonnie Brody
Feb 29, 2012 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 -
...more
Book Concierge
Book on CD narrated by Hillary Huber
3.5***

Betty Weissmann is seventy-five when her seventy-eight-year-old husband, Joseph, announces he wants a divorce. Of course, he’ll be generous; he has loved Betty and her two girls from a previous marriage for over forty years, and he wants to do right by them. But his mistress, Felicity, has other plans for the elegant West-side apartment, and Betty is evicted from her only home with little notice. Her cousin Lou comes to the rescue, offering her his beach
...more
Chris
Aug 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: womens-fiction
The back book blurb states that this is an contemporary homage to Jane Austen. No surprise it doesn't hold a candle to the incomparable Austen, no charm, wit, biting sarcasm or satiric take on the manners of the day. There are two scenes that are ripped right out of Sense & sensibility between Miranda & Kit which I could visualize the original easily with Maryanne & Mr. Wickham.

Putting the comparison aside, it stands on its own as an interesting easy read of family dynamics and a cast of charact
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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
Judith
Jul 26, 2010 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
Susan Sherwin
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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Jocelyn Coe
I felt that sections of the book were contrived and the ending wrapped up to quickly and I did not think the direction the characters were taken was believable.
Susan
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining read. I, of course, identified with the worry wart, librarian Annie (out of the two sisters) for many reasons. Found her musings on her children growing up very poignant. Characters were interesting and/or appropriately annoying, infuriating, or interestingly "out there." And one does not need to have read Jane Austen to appreciate its sense and sensibilities. ...more
Joanna
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bobby
Mar 19, 2012 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
...more
Maxine
May 05, 2013 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
...more
JoAnn
Jun 15, 2012 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
...more
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
...more
Kassandra
Sep 12, 2014 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
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.
...more
Esil
Jul 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have trouble understanding why there are so many negative reviews of this book. I thought it was extemely well written -- full of great expressions and effectively and rapidly changing points of view. Also the playful and ironic reference to Jane Austen worked for me. Perhaps those most critical were those who expected it to be true to Jane Austen. I don't think that was the point. ...more
Delia Franklin
Feb 05, 2014 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.
Perkimom
Dec 13, 2009 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 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. ...more
Alarie
Sep 03, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
The book jacket calls this “a playful, devoted, loose-jointed homage to Jane Austen’s beloved Sense and Sensibility .” I wouldn’t have caught on to that otherwise. I know Pride and Prejudice so much better than I can smell a remake a mile away, but don’t remember or cherish S & S as well. If Schine had created this book from scratch, I think I’d have enjoyed it more. From the humor in the first 20 pages, I thought I’d enjoy this immensely, but it was too overdone, too unrealistic. The sweet two ...more
Rebecca
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love an Austen rewrite, and this one had some parts so funny that I found myself turning down the pages to re-read for laughs later on. This book is no Eligible (another Austen homage, by Curtis Sittenfeld), but still a very fun, wicked read.
Lori
Jun 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Three Weissmann's of Westport was cleverly written. I was looking for a light hearted read but instead got a load of bankruptcies, heart aches, divorce, lies SADNESS. So I give three stars for the three Weissmanns. It had good moments, some ironic humor but too much heaviness for my enjoyment. ...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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