Reviews for Pretty One : A Novel About Sisters

Booklist Reviews 2012 November #2
Complicated yet close relationships between sisters are a familiar trope in literature. In Rosenfeld's contemporary spin, the Hellinger sisters are wildly different in manner but alike in their propensity for meddling in each other's lives. Oldest sister Perri, a perfectionist working mom with a successful husband and suburban manse, stuns all when she runs away for the weekend with an old college boyfriend. Meanwhile, back home, Perri's husband, Mike, makes a pass at her beautiful middle sister, Olympia, a single mom whose dating and professional lives are floundering. Youngest sister Gus, a lesbian social-activist lawyer, is going through an identity crisis of her own when a bad breakup has her considering a fling with Mike's brother Jeff. Although the novel's twists and turns are entertaining, it's the sisters' realistic swings from jealousy to unity that make it compelling. Once again, the author of I'm So Happy for You (2009) portrays women with insight. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 December #1
A sly novel about competition, jealousy and love as experienced by three sisters in New York. Imperia, Olympia and Augusta are not only saddled with their mother's obsession with ancient Greece, they are also victims of her penchant for criticism and categorization. Oldest Perri is the perfect one and has happily turned her OCD tendencies into a thriving organizing (of closets and cupboards) empire. Youngest Gus is the compassionate one; as a teen, she championed for the impoverished of Central America, and now she is an attorney championing abused women in the Bronx. Olympia is in the middle, and she is the pretty one, the flaky one, the artsy one, the one with a string of bad relationships, a lackluster career at a small museum and conflicted feelings about the anonymous sperm donor who produced her 3-year-old daughter, Lola. Rosenfeld's fourth novel is slight on plot and long on character, and much of the novel's pleasure comes from the complicated relationship the three sisters have with one another. They speak daily and argue just as often, but they couldn't imagine life without the sister-mirror. But things do happen: In the throes of a mini-nervous breakdown, Perri leaves her husband to rendezvous with an old college boyfriend in Miami. Gus is shocked to have fallen hard for Perri's brother-in-law; first because he's a flaky ski bum, second because she's a lesbian. Olympia pines for the one who got away, a married man with a heart of gold. But these are trivialities compared to the bomb dropped on the sisters' parents. One morning, Jennifer Yu--a beautiful pediatric oncologist--shows up introducing herself as the long-lost Hellinger sister. It appears that their impossibly geeky father, Bob, had a brief premarital liaison while working at Los Alamos, and now Jennifer is revealed as the new, and frankly superior, oldest sister. Old jealousies threaten to tear the sisters apart. A witty character study of that contentious organism: sisterhood. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2012 December #1

Sisters Perri, Olympia, and Gus have one thing in common--they love to compete with each other. Perri, the oldest, is the perfect one. She runs a successful company, is married with three children, and keeps her home in immaculate order. Olympia, the middle sister, is the pretty one. After ending her relationship with a married man she decides to have a baby on her own. Gus, the youngest, is the political one who begins to question her sexual orientation after her long relationship with another woman ends. When Perri disrupts the others' lives with an out-of-character move and an unexpected addition to the family shows up, the sisters may not be able to overcome the fissures in their relationships unless they can step out of their comfort zones. VERDICT Rosenfeld's (I'm So Happy for You) believable novel explores how our closest relationships can be the most frustrating. For fans of women's fiction about family drama like the novels of Luanne Rice.--Karen Core, Detroit P.L.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 November #1

While the title of Rosenfeld's latest would have you believe that this story revolves around Pia, the prettiest Hellinger daughter, the real focus is the incessant drama that drives a wedge between three sisters. All in their late 30s, the sisters continually bicker and attempt to one-up each other: middle child Pia is irked that Perri, the eldest with control issues and CEO of a home organization company, and Gus, a terrible gossip, found success in their respective fields while her own art career has floundered. Perri, a workaholic mother of three, lacks sympathy for Pia's single motherhood; she and Gus speculate about the identity of their niece Lola's father, while Pia still finds herself smarting over an ill-fated relationship with a married man. As Perri becomes increasingly shrewlike, she bristles at her unemployed husband's poor homemaking skills. Meanwhile, Gus's lover leaves her and, perplexingly, she finds herself pining for a man. The situation implodes when Gus spills the secret of Perri's impulsive blunder, and though a whopper of an event brings the sisters together, the book winds down to an unsatisfying nonending. Despite some occasionally stiff writing, Rosenfeld (I'm So Happy for You) does do a stellar job of developing each personality, and the characters remain true to their nature throughout. Agent: Maria Massie, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Feb.)

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