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

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

by Sonya Sones


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“Funny, fresh, and heartbreakingly poignant, this book had me laughing and crying at the same time.”
—Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries series and Insatiable

“I read The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus and I saw the light and the mirror and fell under Sonya Sones’ spell.”
— Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

“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.”
—Ilene Beckerman, author of Love, Loss, and What I Wore

Celebrated YA novelist Sonya Sones makes a HUGE splash with her first adult novel, The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus, spinning a funny, fierce, and piercingly honest coming-of-middle-age story about falling apart and putting yourself back together. Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck meets Elizabeth Berg—boldly original and endlessly enthralling—The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus is a luminous, brilliantly told story of life, marriage, and parenthood that you will not soon forget.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062024671
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/05/2011
Edition description: Original
Pages: 432
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Sonya Sones has written seven novels in verse: The Opposite of Innocent, Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy; What My Mother Doesn’t Know and its companion, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know; One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies; To Be Perfectly Honest; and Saving Red. Sonya’s books have received many honors, but she was especially thrilled when she learned that she was on the American Library Association’s list of the Most Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century. She lives near the beach in California. You can visit her at or write her at

What People are Saying About This

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

Tish Cohen

“An achingly honest, brilliantly crafted examination of midlife. An absolute joy to read.”

Customer Reviews

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The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel About Marriage, Motherhood, and Mayhem 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
RosalieT More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was hard to "get into" the book , but once I really started reading it, I understood the flow of it.
Barbandop More than 1 year ago
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.
nyauthoress More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
june More than 1 year ago
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!
charlottesweb93 More than 1 year ago
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!!
clamairy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wasn't prepared one bit for the possibility of falling in love with a novel in verse, but hot damn, did I! The main theme of a child preparing to depart for college hit incredibly close to home for me, as it's only been six months since my own daughter left. The other inter-woven themes of hot flashes, aging, experiencing doubts about pretty much one's whole freaking life, plus, having a mother who's health is beginning to fail kept hammering one thing home; except for the fact I'm not a poet, I could have written this!!! I will most definitely be on the lookout for more books by Sonya Sones, and I will be buying copies of The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus to give as gifts.
dawnlovesbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
was uncertain about this book at first because it's written in prose but it was really cute. funny and heartwarming.
wakela on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nothing could have prepared me for this book. For some reason, they author decided to write the entire novel in a series of poems. This was definitely not what I was expecting after looking at the cover of the book and reading the description.The story that Sonya Sones tells is interesting, funny, and very fitting for many women. However, I feel that by writing it in prose, she will lose a lot of readers. The story did not gain anything by the manner of writing.However, since it is written in prose, it is a lot quicker to read. I got through it in only a couple of hours. So you should not be put off by the style of writing. The story is still very much relevant to any woman going through empty nest syndrome and/or menopause.In conjunction with the Wakela's World Disclosure Statement, I received a product in order to enable my review. No other compensation has been received. My statements are an honest account of my experience with the brand. The opinions stated here are mine alone.
ForeignCircus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was both intrigued and frightened when I discovered this entire novel is actually written in verse. Though at first it was strange to read, I quickly found myself immersed in the story and unable to put the book down. It is truly remarkable how vibrant and packed with detail this story is despite the spare poems that convey the meaning in dramatically fewer words than a normal prose novel. I can't say anything else except that this book is a definite must-read that I am recommending to all my family and friends.
meags222 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a book written completely in poems which for the most part I am not a huge fan of. That being said, I think it worked well for this novel. I received this novel from NetGalley and I was on the fence about whether or not I thought I'd enjoy it but as soon I started reading I knew that it would be a book I would really like. It is a story about a woman who is going through middle age and is questioning a lot of things in her life. Her daughter is about to leave the home for university and Holly is having a serious case of Empty Nest anxiety. She is also going through menopause, having trouble writing her manuscript, dealing with a sick mother and questioning at times her marriage. I couldn't put this book down because it was just so well written. Sones brings humour to things that could be seen as depressing and I found myself laughing throughout that entire thing. While I am only 29, I could relate to the character as a woman. Overall I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5 and I definitely recommend reading it if you get the chance.
acornell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hunchback read very quickly and surprised me in that it was a novel made up entirely of poems. In about 400 pages there were about 200 prose poems. They were generally sad, funny and thoughtful looks at a 50 year old woman's mid-life crisis which included a daughter leaving home, a mother in the hospital and a marriage that was alternately on the rocks and the best marriage in the world. There were some real points of tension and sadness that built up even through the prolonged use of poetry. I could hardly believe poems could produce this heightened state of interest in the characters.The author, Sonya Sones, is better known for her young adult novels. In fact, it appears as though they might be constructing a marketing campaign for young adults with this book so perhaps they hope the book to have a crossover audience. I think this is a fun little book and you will enjoy it especially if you are interested in seeing what poetry can do for a narrative. This was a clever way to play with words.I found myself reading each poem and asking myself if it could stand alone as a poem. If you saw it reprinted in the New Yorker by itself would you enjoy it as a poem or would you miss everything since it is really part of a longer narrative? I decided that most of them could. Here is one of my favorites:I AM TIRED OF BEING A POETWorn out by this businessof always having to see things with "fresh new eyes."Just once I'd like to sit by the fire without trying to figure out how to describe itin a way that no one else ever has before.I'm tired of meter, tired of form, tired of rhyme, tired of off-rhyme, tired of repetition, tired of metaphors--Those wild...somethings that never fail to fly south for the winter just when I need them the most.I am rife with,no...overrun with, no...bursting withthe boredom, the monotony, the tediumof constantly having to look up words in my thesaurus.I'm fed up with allusion,alienated by allegory,allergic to alliteration.But I am especially tired of similes--those sneaky figures of speechthat ceaselessly elude me,just as they're eluding me right nowon this cloudy morningthat's like...a cloudy morning.I've had it up to here with trying to invent another original way to say "I'm really sad."I'm not as melancholy as the song of the mateless mockingbird, I'm just plain miserable--miserable and sick and tired of being a poet.
iva20 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It is a refreshing new look at turning 50 and being a woman.
LivelyLady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Holly is at midlife and so much a member of the sandwich generation that she is almost an "open faced" sandwich. Her only child is going off to college, she is approaching the big "5-0", her husband's behavior is secretive and questionable and her mother is aging. She has reached a block in her writing. Life is becoming the fastest "still life" imaginable. Author Sonya Sones takes this mid-life crisis and approaches it with humor and tenderness, writing in what I thought was poetry at first while thumbing through the book. I laughed, had goosebumps, and tears, sometimes with individual incidents and sometimes simultaneously.This is a warm, tender, humorous look at what so many of us are going through. A good read.
anjibeane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book.I won an advanced reader's edition of this book from LibraryThing. The first thing I thought when I opened it and saw that it was written in verse, was "oh no, not another one!" Another book I won recently was in verse and the only positive thing about that was it made the book quick to read. Unfortunately, the short poem-pages also made The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus a short read, but the fact that each page is a short poem really added to the humor of this book. Little nuggets of hilarity were thrown in with story, all with an underlying Shel Silverstein feel. My favorite page/poem:TO THE ONE-POUND BAG OF OREOSI JUST BOUGHT:It's so sadto thinkthat just momentsfrom nowyouwill be goneand I'll be a cow.I was sad to finish this book. I laughed out loud every time I picked it up, and it was really hard to put down. I don't usually give a book five stars, but I was so happily surprised with this book that I wasn't sure I was thrilled to have won, I think it deserves the extra star.A quick, funny, enjoyable read.
WKinsey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I won this as a Library Thing ARC copy. It was a fast delightful read in a poem style. It had some laugh out loud funny things. I think that the closer to 50 you are the more you appresiate the book.
lisa1121mass on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a cute short, mother/daughter/wife story. Holly has alot on her plate at the moment, her only child is leaving for college and she will be alone with her husband for the first time in 17 years. Her aging mother is not doing well and lives in another time zone and on top of that she just found out that she has entered the world of menopause!I found myself laughing alot with this book. Warning, it is in verse form which took a bit to get use to, but all in all I did enjoy this book.
madforbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was a novel written in verse about a woman coming to terms with the natural processes and consequences of aging. Her observations were fitting and cute to the subject matter, but frankly, not at all original or refreshing. To be fair, there actually was some good poetry to be found among the many pages. Unfortunantly, I am not much of a fan of poetry writers. Perhaps that is why I did not enjoy this book a lot. There is certainly heart to the story and I am sure there will be many readers who enjoy it.
CDianeK on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When reading about this book on the Early Reviewers' list, I somehow missed in the description that this was a novel in verse. Had I noticed this, I likely wouldn't have signed up for it. I'm glad I missed it.Holly is a part of the sandwich generation. Her daughter will be leaving for college soon, and all of the schools that she has selected are very far away. This leaving has reached almost apocalyptic status in Holly's mind; she cannot fathom her child leaving her. In the meantime, her own mother has been diagnosed with an illness whose treatment involving large amounts of steroids can and eventually does cause mental changes. Because Mom is in Ohio and Holly is in California, most of her consultation with physicians is by telephone, and her primary physician is quite annoying, phone-wise. In addition to these worries with her mother and daughter, Holly's husband is acting all sketchy, and she doesn't know what to do about it.This can and should be considered classic chick-lit fare, but the story is lovely, aided by the verse. I'm no fan of, and therefore feel no need to be critical of poetry/verse, so therefore all I can say is I enjoyed it very, very much.
agirlandherbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Holly is a 50-year-old mother and wife facing the crisis of her only child heading to college, not to mention her fear that her husband is having an affair and her manuscript is seriously overdue. Her fears coalesce during a shopping trip, where she spots a elderly hunchbacked woman she fears becoming, and pours everything into a series of poems written in blank verse. The story's structure is unusual, to be sure, but ultimately offers a hackneyed story a fresh viewpoint.
amusingmother on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sonya Sones frightens me.She says what I am thinking which makes me woder if she has been visitig my head. She is covering all those quirky and not-so-enjoyable moments of being middle age. What she missed however, is that the jutting chin and hunched back provide hours of pain in the thoracic area. Besides this omission, she hits everything on the mark.Not that I would know, of course. The ends of producing fruit of my womb was a personal and medical choice. Yeah. Tha...moreSonya Sones frightens me.She says what I am thinking which makes me woder if she has been visitig my head. She is covering all those quirky and not-so-enjoyable moments of being middle age. What she missed however, is that the jutting chin and hunched back provide hours of pain in the thoracic area. Besides this omission, she hits everything on the mark.Not that I would know, of course. The ends of producing fruit of my womb was a personal and medical choice. Yeah. That's it. That's my story and I'm holding to it.But in all seriousness, the poetry and play with words on the page to simulate waiting or providing a different design spoke volumes. Along with the blessings of becoming middle age - and she is brutally honest which only endeared me further. Most women in this age enjoy denial. Not that I would know anything about that - she writes about being in the "sandwhich" stage; caring for an elderly parent while parenting her own child who suddenly graduates from high school and goes to college. Dealing with doctors of the parent, the lonely silence of home, the questions...I assume the protagonist in the book is a thinly veiled Sonya. Except of course, Sonya would only be 30 years old.Some of hold our denial near and dear to our hearts, you know.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gene44 More than 1 year ago
I didn't even finish this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The poem form its written was bad. Hard to follow! Very disappointed!