I just finished The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine.

The Three Weissmanns of Westport

I ordered this book from the library months ago, because it got a great review in the NY Times. (Dominique Browning called it “sparkling, crisp, clever, deft, hilarious and deeply affecting.”)

In fact, when I requested the book from the library, I was number 837 in the queue: the longest line I’ve ever been in at NYPL.

Needless to say, I had high expectations.

And for the most part—until about the last 60 pages—I was thoroughly enchanted.

But I should have known better, because at its core, the primary conflict of this book is divorce. And God knows that I really hate divorce.

Here are 5 things I learned from The Three Weissmanns of Westport anyway (and yes, there are a few spoilers):

  1. If you start reading a book, and its plot seems just like the plot of a beloved novel (hint: Blank and Blankibility) by an even more beloved author (ahem, Blank Austen), remember that it is 2010 and that authors in this day and age like to throw their own curve balls. Don’t expect Marianne to end up with Colonel Brandon. Just don’t. Or you might get your heart a little bit broken when she turns out to be a lesbian.
  2. Divorce rarely ends well, and never quite works out like The Parent Trap when there’s another (younger, smarter, sexier, ruthless) woman involved. Of course, don’t expect things to work out perfectly between cheater-husband and other-woman either.
  3. If you are a woman who’s nearing 50, and are hit on by a 35-year-old super hot actor, consider the possibility that he may not be into you just for your looks and sex appeal. He may want something else. Accept that now, and enjoy the sex.
  4. This is not Euripides or As You Like it, and there is no deus ex machina. Don’t wait for it. A related lesson: people die when they are old.
  5. Finally—and most importantly—if you have lost all of your money, you are not going to get it all back, no matter how unfairly you lost it. (We all should have learned this lesson from Kevin Bacon and Kira Sedgwick.) Be smart and don’t give it all to the aforementioned super hot actor until you’ve had your lawyer check out his investments.

One final note: I concur with Dominique Browning’s prediction that this will be a movie in the next few years. I will probably go. And I will probably enjoy it until the last 20 minutes when I will leave the theater and make up my own ending that’s a little less “realistic” and a little more like Blank and Blankibility.

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