Saturday, May 29, 2010

Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn

In Prospect Park West, Amy Sohn takes us inside the lives of four women who live in this Brooklyn neighborhood.  Melora Leigh is a famous actress, who after two Oscars, worries that her career is in trouble.  She is slowly falling apart mentally, physically and emotionally.  Her son spends his time with the live-in nanny while Melora and her husband work on their careers.

Rebecca is a part-time journalist who works out of her home while tending to her year and a half old daughter.  After the birth, her husband turned off sexually to her, and Rebecca hasn't had sex in over a year.  She is desparate to change this, and is starting to look around outside her marriage to get her needs met.

Lizzie is a stay-at-home mom who feels trapped.  Her husband is a musician trying to promote his career, which means he is on the road most of the time.  Even when he is home, it's in "conquering hero" mode as he says he needs to decompress from the strains of his career, not take over child care.  Adding to the isolation Lizzie feels, her husband is another race and their child is bi-racial.

Karen is another stay-at-home mother.  She is aggressively trying to improve the lot of their family, pushing to move to another, more prestigious address, pushing to get to know some of her famous neighbors, pushing to have another child to create a storybook family. 

Sohn shows us the strengths and weaknesses each women faces as she tries to carve out a satisfactory life for herself and her children.  The strain between working and stay-at-home moms is explored, as is the changing dynamics of relationships once children are introduced into a marriage.  The four women come together and push apart throughout the book.  Sohn has worked on Sex And The City and that highly sexually charged viewpoint is found throughout the book, but does not define it.  This book is recommended for readers that enjoy exploring others' lives and how they face issues.

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