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


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

I shouldn't have liked this book. In fact, given that it is written in verse, I had no good expectations for it. But then I'm in the tub and can't stop reading it; I'm crying and laughing at the same time. THE HUNCHBACK OF NEIMAN MARCUS is a strangely effective and affecting novel about the 'hoods --- motherhood, sisterhood, wifehood --- and the process of accepting and moving forward when you are staring the ugly idea of aging in the face. Sonya Sones's first novel for adults is a complete delight and a beautiful paen to the contemporary woman's ability to face the changes that come in mid-life, when all of one's relationships are taking on new and difficult situations.

Holly has a deadline for a book that her editor has been waiting for her to finish for a year. She has a daughter who is on her way to college and leaving the nest. Her husband is an artist whose freewheeling ways may be helping him forge a new relationship outside of their marriage that could threaten their decades together. She has a mom who is sick and slowly forgetting the life they've had. She is a friend who doesn't know if she can trust the advice she gets from her gaggle of girl pals. All in all, this is a heady time for Holly, and her every travail is a heartfelt and painful/funny look at the details of all our lives, whether we are at Holly's precipice now or will be some years in the future.

I think the most fun aspect of this book, which could have turned out to be just another novel about your kids not needing you anymore and how often you have to dye your hair when you get older, is the verse. Sones's freewheeling way with her verbiage gives THE HUNCHBACK OF NEIMAN MARCUS a gravity that speaks to real problems in mid-life women face every day, but it also gives it a light-heartedness that makes it feel special and direct, like a birthday card written for you by a long-time friend. Sones knows what every mother faces, what every wife faces, what every woman faces as the double digits that represent her time on earth get larger and larger.

Samantha, her daughter, and Michael, her husband, as well as her mom and her friends, are all two-dimensional characters, since we only hear about them through Holly's verses. However, Holly is so entertaining --- and her place in life such that any woman in any of her situations could relate to it --- that it doesn't feel like these other characters are ghost figures. The book from her point of view gives us a chance to feel engaged with this one special woman and her interesting take on these ageless issues (ageless in terms of through the ages, since getting old is very much concerned with what comes with a higher age).

THE HUNCHBACK OF NEIMAN MARCUS is a unique experience that everyone will love!

Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on May 16, 2011

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

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062024671
  • ISBN-13: 9780062024671