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The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel About Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem [NOOK Book]

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel About Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem

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Overview

My name is Holly.
This story is about me—
a writer who's way behind
on her deadline.

But, honestly,
how can I concentrate on my work
when my fiftieth birthday's
rushing at me like a freight train,

my hormones are making me feel
like a Szechuan flambé,
and my eighty-year-old mother's
biting her nurses?

Not to mention the fact that my daughter's
just begun applying to colleges
(none of which are within
a thousand-mile radius of home),

and lately my husband's been
such an irritating, finger-pointing stinker
that I've found myself dreaming of ways
to spend his insurance money . . .

My name is Holly.
This book
tells my story—
a coming-of-middle-age story.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Holly, the frazzled heroine of YA novelist Sones's latest (What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know), is a writer grappling with menopause, a daughter about to go to college, a husband who drives her crazy, and a crippling case of writer's block. Her mother is ill and in the care of an ineffectual doctor who puts her on steroids that make her violent and forgetful. In the midst of the everyday chaos, Holly has to figure out how to redefine herself as life keeps on changing on her. Sones mixes things up by writing the entire story in verse, with different anecdotes related in different types of poems (as with the concrete poem "A Brief History of My Boobs"), but that's where the story's uniqueness ends, as the whimsy of its telling splashes around in the shallow depths of the story itself. Still it's occasionally funny, and its unlikely form may be enough to entice genre enthusiasts looking for something a smidge different. (Apr.)
AARP
“An elderly, ailing parent. A child about the fly the nest. Menopause. Tensions in a longtime marriage. . . . These are familiar midlife issues, but poetry’s sharp focus enables Sones to keep them fresh . . . [as she] expertly juggles humor and pathos. . . . Marvelous.”
Booklist
“[An] entertaining novel-in-verse that will have readers clamoring for more. Sones, a beloved and wildly popular YA novelist, brings poetry to life for readers, especially parents of teens and those coping with elder care, in this cleverly versified, insightful laughter-and-tears novel.”
Ilene Beckerman
“Wallpaper a room with the pages of The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus. It will be your favorite place. The room you come back to again and again, year after year.”
Meg Cabot
“Funny, fresh, and heartbreakingly poignant, this book had me laughing and crying at the same time. Thank you, Sonya Sones, for finally saying what so many of us have been thinking for so long.”
Megan McCafferty
“Every page of Sonya Sones’s novel-in-verse is brimming with wit, warmth, and wisdom. You’ll want to share this relatable and revelatory story about growing old ‘disgracefully’ with every mother and daughter you know.”
Tish Cohen
“An achingly honest, brilliantly crafted examination of midlife. An absolute joy to read.”
Jacquelyn Mitchard
“If you told me I’d laugh and cry in the nail salon over a novel in VERSE . . . I’d have said that you were mad. Then I read The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus and I saw the light and fell under Sonya Sones’ spell.”
Library Journal
In her first adult novel, an ode to the sandwich generation, Sones employs the same light, free-verse style that has made her young adult titles (Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy; One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies) so popular. Dodging her book editor's calls, newly menopausal Holly finds no pleasant distraction in focusing on her family—a hospitalized mother suffering from 'roid rage and dementia, an only daughter going away to college, and a husband idling at his own midlife crossroads. Readers will smile when they see the "but" coming in a poem that begins, "My husband has many fine qualities" and sigh when Holly describes the ache she feels watching a young neighbor playing with her toddler. Somewhere between Nora Ephron and Jennifer Weiner, Sones recounts the little ouches of aging with a perfect blend of wit and tenderness. VERDICT This is what chick lit should want to be when it grows up—wise, funny, and blunt.—Karen Kleckner, Deerfield P.L., IL
Kirkus Reviews

Poet-novelist Sones, whose previous work was aimed at teens (What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know, 2007, etc.), focuses on their moms in her newest verse novel about the crises facing a woman as she turns 50.

The poems, most no more than a page, follow California poet Holly as she struggles to finish her book of poetry. Holly is anxiety-ridden, not only because she can't avoid the physical "skidmarks" of age as she approaches 50, but also because her adored only daughter Sam is a high-school senior getting ready to leave Holly and her artist husband Michael empty-nesters. Then Holly's loving and beloved mother's health begins to fail in Cleveland, and guilt-ridden Holly must manage her medical care from afar. After a remarkably easy transition—Sam is the kind of fictional girl who skips a party with her friends to bake brownies (recipe included) for her grandmother and then snuggles up to watch TV with her mom—Sam heads off to college. Suddenly Holly's marriage to Michael seems less than rock solid. First she suspects he is having an affair with one of her friends, though in classic sitcom plotting he's actually been meeting with the other woman because she runs an animal shelter and he's planning to surprise Holly with a new kitty. Then visiting her mother, Holly is tempted by but resists sexual advances from her mother's doctor. When Michael is rushed to the hospital in great pain, his kidney stones become Holly's poetic metaphor for their minor marital problems. Soon Holly's mom is doing better, Sam is calling home frequently from college on the East Coast, and Holly's editor loves her finished book. (Surprisingly for a poet married to an artist, one problem Holly doesn't seem to have is financial; there are shopping sprees to the store nicely marketed in the title and no worries about where Sam's tuition will come from.)

Midlife chick lit in verse that contains an equal measure of clever lines and clinkers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062079084
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/5/2011
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 145,186
  • File size: 812 KB

Meet the Author

Sonya Sones is the author of four acclaimed novels for teens: Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy; What My Mother Doesn't Know; One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies; and What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know. She lives in California with her family and only shops at Neiman's when it's having a sale.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 29, 2011

    Loved this book!

    I just had the opportunity to read this book, and I absolutely loved it. It's so funny, moving, and observational - I agreed with so much of what the character Holly was experiencing! I don't usually review books on here, but I wanted to review this one because it was like the author knew what my life was like. I'm planning on reading it again next week when I have vacation (it's a pretty fast read because of the poetry format). I think it'll be the perfect gift for my sister and my mom for mother's day. I'm so happy that Sonya Sones is writing books for adults - I can't wait for her next one! Or maybe she'll write a book from Holly's daughter's perspective as a sequel? In any case, I'm looking forward to reading what comes next.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    Good book

    It was hard to "get into" the book , but once I really started reading it, I understood the flow of it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 30, 2011

    A Must Read

    This book made me laugh out loud. It also made me cry out loud. It also made me think and remember. I loved this book and if you have ever wondered what the heck happened to your life, you will too. I can't recommend this enough.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 27, 2011

    A Great Book!

    First off, I was a target audience for this book. I'm nearly 60 (a smidge older that Holly, but not nearly as old as her mother!); I have a charming daughter; we drove her to a college 3 states away from us; and I could probably go on and on.

    I cried like a baby while reading the poems about the daughter getting ready to fly from the nest. It brought back those memories of sending my own daughter off to finish her growing up.

    My mother passed away many years ago, but the scenes with the mother were also touching to me. When Holly goes over to help the neighbor next door and quiets the baby, I thought of my mother when she came to stay with us when my baby was 9 days old. And when David would be awake at night, she gently took over and told me to stay in bed and sleep. What a great mother I had! And Holly and her mom are real sweethearts and you know her daughter will be a great mom someday.

    And the wife-husband stuff (the things that annoy the other partner!); and his almost serious illness; and Dr. Hack! (It's criminal to have such a worm in such a body!); and lovely Dr. Gold; and could you have put in a butterscotch brownie recipe in poetry form? JK!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Poetry Couldn't Be Funnier

    Take it with you in the car, read a few pages before you go to bed, pass the time in the doctor's waiting room with it, but, by all means, treat yourself to The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus. Sonya Sones, author of four award-winning novels for teens, paid attention to the admonitions, "Write what you know" and "Identify your audience." If you are a woman near menopause or mid-life, her book will make you laugh, cry and sigh. Sones' main character, Holly, is right there with you in your memory slips, sagging boobs, double chin and frustration in dealing with aging parents and departing children. Voicing the feelings of a fifty-ish woman in the inventive form of a poetic saga brimming with wit and sensitivity was a stroke of genius on the author's part. One might balk to open a book published as fiction and see poetry. But therein lies part of the brilliance of the book. "I dare you to make me like this," the reader may say. After ten pages, this reader was hooked. This poetic saga will touch you in places you didn't remember existed. Prepare to be refreshed by this original exploration of women coping with aging and all its implications. Sones reminds us that we need to laugh at ourselves, love our children, and be grateful for our mothers. Holly finds her mother's words "Your baby-making days may be over, but you will always be my baby," as soothing as a cup of chamomile tea. Who is "The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus?" You'll be treated to the answer among the pages of this fresh, funny book. Highly recommended for adult women. I thank Library Thing and Harper Collins for providing an advance review copy. The opinions expressed in my review are unbiased and wholly my own. Reviewed by Holly Weiss, author of Crestmont

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Ladies - you will LOVE this book!

    Ladies - seriously - you are going to LOVE this book. The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus is written in a unique poetry style. Read individually they have an interesting message in their own right, but read collectively they tell a hilarious, yet poignant story of a woman who is not aging as gracefully as she had hoped. 50 year old Holly is curing her Menopause woes with a little retail therapy. Think Shopaholic meets Nora Ephron. Absolutely perfect. You and your friends will laugh with Holly, you will cry with Holly, and you will be glad to know you are not the only one fighting gravity with everything you've got!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    Verse? Really? Yes!

    I did not realize this was written in verse when I bought it but figured I'd give it 50 pages or so.... And I am glad I did! Funny, thoughtful, charming, and full of what it means to be a mom, wife, daughter, and human. Very good book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    The bane of any reviewer is this format

    Honesty is the best policy this is a collection of poems they may be collected into a book this is not a novel this is the second odd format this month but was a library book

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    Amazing untill the end

    Very good book consitering am 13 and i love romance novles not to much sex but enough to the love flow managable

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2013

    o.k.

    I didn't even finish this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Did not like

    The poem form its written was bad. Hard to follow! Very disappointed!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    AMAZING!

    Such a great book! Every woman should read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 20, 2013

    Midlife angst that didn't make me throw up

    The delightful format - in poetry - of this midlife crisis book made it highly enjoyable and readable. I usually avoid the subject - having been there and escaped (mostly) with my wits intact.

    But this was a terrific read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2013

    highly recommended

    At first, I was a little turned off because it was poetry, but I was soon captured and was delighted with the subject matter and the rhythm of the verse.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2013

    Unique

    I wasn't so sure when I started this book but I ended up loving it. It is refreshing once you get into the rythm of it and get used to it being written in poetry.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2013

    Had me laughing and cying...at the SAME time!

    This is a tender, honest and hysterical account that any woman who has ever had children, a husband or a mother could relate to. It was nice to know I am not alone in these hormone-induced emotions and thoughts!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews

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