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December 1, 2012

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus


The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus: A Novel About Marriage, Motherhood and Mayhem by Sonya Sones
Fiction
2011 HarperCollins
Finished on 10/15/12
Rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)




Publisher’s Blurb: 

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.


I’ve been blogging for close to 7 years and every so often I get the urge to pack it in and call it a day. This tends to happen when I fall behind with my reviews and the feeling intensifies during the holidays, when my job (which I love) zaps all my energy and leaves me with zero motivation to do much of anything, even on the weekends. It’s during moments like those that I think I should quit blogging, quit Facebook, quit Pinterest (ack, what a time suck!), quit all my book-related subscriptions and return to life as it was before I discovered this community of book lovers. But then I come upon a beautifully written review echoing my thoughts, or a tantalizing recipe, or a recommendation for a book that I may never have discovered on my own, and I realize that this new life is exactly where I want to be. I just need to remember to remain true to myself and not let that inner voice nag at me to get those reviews written. I’m not getting paid to do this, and thus, there are no commitments or deadlines to review all of the books I’ve read. So I keep going and continue to read my favorite blogs. And it’s there that I find a gem in the rough such as The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus. I am exposed to dozens upon dozens of new books each week at work and it can be overwhelming, to say the least. So when I read a review such as the one Nancy wrote (followed with other wonderful and intriguing reviews by Staci and Kathy), I take note and make it a point to give the book a try.

I honestly can’t remember if Nancy sent me a copy of Sones’ novel, or if I finally broke down and bought one myself, but it wound up on a shelf in my office where it remained for several months. When I decided to participate in Dewey’s Read-a-Thon this past October, I remembered I had a copy of this book and knew it was a perfect choice, as it’s a novel in verse. This was the absolute perfect book to read as the evening wound down. The pages flew and before I knew it, I’d finished 250 pages in just under an hour and a half. I could have easily finished the entire book that night, but I finally had to quit. I was reading in bed and it was almost impossible to stifle my laughter; I kept worrying that I was going to awaken my husband with my constant snickering. I have over a dozen passages marked with sticky notes, many of which involve marriage and motherhood, but I thought the following would resonate with pretty much everyone. I honestly believe I’ve had this conversation with AA:

Trying to Reserve the Flight That Will Take Samantha to College


Automated Voice:
Thanks for calling
the American Airlines Advantage desk.
Para Español, diga “Español.”


Me:


Automated Voice:
What’s your Advantage number?


Me:
XDD5376.


Automated Voice:
That’s FBB5376. Right?
Me:
Wrong.


Automated Voice:
I’m sorry.
Please say your Advantage number again.

Me:
X.D.D.5.3.7.6.

Automated Voice:
That’s FVV4367. Right?

Me:
No. You are not right.
You are not even slightly right.

Automated Voice:
My apologies. I didn’t get that.
Please say your Advantage number again.

Me:
XDD5376!

Automated Voice:
That’s STD5376? Right?

Me:
You have got to be kidding me…

Automated Voice:
I’m sorry. I seem to be having
some trouble understanding you.
Please say your Advantage number again.

Me:
Just let me speak to an agent!

Automated Voice:
Do you want to talk to an agent
about travel within the United States,
Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Me:
Agent!

Automated Voice:
I understand you’d like to speak to someone.
Let’s find out what you need first
and then I’ll get you to the right place.

Me:
Agent! Agent!

Automated Voice:
Okay. Do you want to speak to an agent
about travel within the United States,
Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Me:
Agent! Agent! AGENT!

Automated Voice:
I’m sorry. I didn’t get that.

Me:
Of course you didn’t get that.
You’re a machine, for chrissake.
You can’t “get” things.
You have no ears.
 And in case you haven’t noticed—
you have no heart.
So quit telling me how sorry you feel.
You can’t feel sorry.
You can’t feel anything.
Because you are nothing but
A GODDAMN STINKING
SHITTY HEAP OF HIDEOUSLY
INFURIATING DIGITAL SOUND!

Automated Voice:
I’m sorry. I didn’t get that.


See what my blogmates have to say about The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus:
Highly recommended. A roller coaster emotional ride that's so fresh and unique and funny that you'll probably shove it into the hands of your friends, like I did -- especially if you're nearing 50 and can relate. I laughed, I cried, I passed my copy around. When my friend Lisa handed the book back to me, she said, "I loved this book! And, I'm only 45!" The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus is great fun. I think anyone can enjoy and appreciate it, except perhaps teenagers or maybe a few young, upwardly mobile folks who refuse to think so far ahead, but those who like to read anything will likely still love it because it's a good story. The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus is definitely a new favorite of mine, a 5/5. (Nancy, of Bookfoolery and Babble)
Recommend? Absolutely...especially for those 40+! So many things that Sonya Sones writes about will hit home with you. Being a child, teen, falling in love for the first time, having children, empty nest, losing the spark within your marriage, divorce, finding love again, infidelity, aging parents, sagging body parts (very true!) and just about getting older.....read this book and I guarantee that you will find yourself laughing one minute, sighing the next, and maybe shedding a few tears! Rating: 10/10 (Staci, of Life in the Thumb)
When I first starting reading reviews of The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus, by Sonya Sones, I figured it wasn’t for me. After all, I thought the title was rather silly and the novel is written in verse, and I don’t “do” poetry. Thank heavens my friend Julie urged me to give it a try, because I absolutely adored this book! I suspect it’s somewhat autobiographical but, I felt like Sones was peeking at my life and writing about it. I laughed and cried as I read this touching and heartfelt book. I started to mark passages as I read it and found that I was marking everything, so I gave up. The sentiments in this book are gorgeous and emotional and I found I could relate to so much of it. (Kathy, of BermudaOnion’s Weblog)

Be sure to click on the links to read Nancy, Staci and Kathy’s complete reviews. A portion of Staci’s is even written in verse!

Final Thoughts: Sones had me laughing out loud one minute and crying the next (not to mention longing for a sequel). This novel will appeal to women of all ages, especially those who are married with children. Highly recommend!

21 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Janet, I think it's one you'll love!

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  2. I just loved this book and have pressed into the hand of many friends who all loved it too!

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    Replies
    1. Kathy, I've been having great success selling it at work I'm so glad I discovered it!

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  3. It's been on my TBR shelf for a very, very long time. Here's hoping it gets read in 2013!!!

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    Replies
    1. Joy, I suggest you make it your first read of 2013. It's a winner!

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    2. THAT spot is already reserved for The Bat - Nesbo's #1 of the Harry Hole series. I decided months ago to wait until The Bat was translated, and I finally have it my possession. :)

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    3. I have yet to read anything by Nesbo, Joy. Am I missing out?

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    4. I'll let you know! :)

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  4. Even good for those hitting 80???

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    Replies
    1. Mom, I think you'd get a kick out of it. You can borrow my copy.

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  5. And I don't bite my nurses - don't have any nurses and not much to bite with!

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  6. I loved your entire post!! This book was such a pleasure and also brought out emotions that I didn't realize I had!! thanks so much for the shout-out!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Staci! And this is yet another reason why I keep blogging. You guys keep feeding my ego. ;)

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  7. This passage is what is in my heart lately: "I just need to remember to remain true to myself and not let that inner voice nag at me to get those reviews written. I’m not getting paid to do this, and thus, there are no commitments or deadlines to review all of the books I’ve read. So I keep going and continue to read my favorite blogs." Maybe this comes with the terroritory, but I constantly have to remind myself of my blogging, no I mean reading priorities.

    Glad you liked this book so much. Now I need to join you and Bookfool. Again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe this comes with the terroritory, but I constantly have to remind myself of my blogging, no I mean reading priorities.

      Yep. I'm constantly reminding myself of this, too. Rather than look at all the books I have yet to review, I concentrate on one at a time. After all, I'm the only one who knows how far behind I've gotten. ;)

      I think you'd enjoy this book, but maybe you should hold off for a few months. No sense in adding salt to your wounds.

      xoxo

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  8. surprising thing for Harper Collins to put out but it looks like fun. thanks for mentioning it.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure I understand your comment about Harper Collins, Pearl. Why are you surprised?

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  9. How have I completely missed this one? It sounds great!

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    Replies
    1. I never would have know about this if it weren't for Nancy's post (followed by the others). Love my blogmates!!

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