Wednesday, November 17, 2010

#BookReview: Twelve Rooms with a View - Theresa Rebeck

Thirty something Tina Finn doesn't have a lot going for her.  Living in a trailer park with her loser boyfriend while cleaning other people's homes for a living, her life is not going so well.  Her mother's sudden death reunites her with her overambitious sister, Alison, and her mousy sister, Lucy.

It turns out that their estranged mother married late in life and married well.  None of the daughters thought highly of their alcoholic mother while she was alive, but the fact that she's left them an apartment worth $ 11 million may redeem her in their eyes.  Turns out mother dear married a recluse whose home she had been cleaning.  When the recluse dies and the Finn girl's mother passes less than a month later, the apartment is willed to them.

The problem is the apartment isn't just any old apartment.  It's a twelve room, two kitchen, hidden stairwells dwelling with various species of moss growing on some of the walls.  It's immediately obvious that this apartment, large enough to take up half a floor in a New York building, was once grand and worth money.  Fearing that the will may be contested by the sons of their late mother's husband, the women decide that someone should take up residence immediately while the will is being contested.

Since Tina has nothing else going on, she moves in and promptly meets an entertaining cast of characters.  There's Len, the botanist, who lives above her in the penthouse.  He also has a greenhouse, but has run out of room.  Hence, the moss growing on her walls.  For $ 700 a month, Tina's mother allowed him to use the second kitchen and, in need of money, Tina sees no reason to stop him.   There's also a family with six kids, a weepy doorman, the nosy neighbor across the hall and a ghost that only makes nighttime appearances.

Because this is New York and real estate is everything, the co-op board works diligently to evict Tina.  Tina's sisters are less than honest with her about the legal proceedings and she finds herself befriending the kooky residents of the building in an attempt to stay.  And that's where the laughs begin.

What did you like about this book?
The characters are entertaining.  The author also does a great job with imagery.

What didn't you like about this book?
There were several secondary characters introduced that needed to be fleshed out just a little more.  It seemed like they played pivotal roles through several chapters and then simply disappeared.  I felt like there were stories to be told as it related to them, yet they weren't.

What could the author do to improve this book?
 Wrap up the loose ends she left hanging.

Published May 2010

Theme: Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood from Sesame Street

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