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« This is Exactly Why Hotel Le Bleu Should Never Ignore Me Again | Main | Cool or Not Cool: Skipping The Deodorant »
Wednesday
Aug262009

REVIEW: PROSPECT PARK WEST BY AMY SOHN

Amy Sohn is a BREEDER who gets it. Like really fucking gets it.

She's a Park Slope mom, who you may have even seen breastfeeding at the "Teat Lounge" (her brilliance, not mine), or sitting amongst the Coopretards at the monthly Park Slope Food Coop meeting. She can enumerate the subtle nuances between each neighborhood playground, and has likely put in her required mommy hours at both Dizzy's and Two Boots. For all I know, she may have even thrown her kid an elaborate bday party at Kidville with clowns and that annoying guitar player dude from the Wednesday sing-a-longs. But here's the thing: she can also laugh her ass off about it all.

Self-awareness, folks--it ain't just a concept to revisit every so often in your shrink's office.  

Luckily for all of us, Sohn seems to be the most self-aware Park Slope BREEDER in the history of BREEDERS. And she's turned it all into a hilarious, dishy, tell-all of a book about  my fave nabe and yours: Prospect Park West.

I loved the shit out of this book--I really did.

It's about four SAHMs or SHAMS (wink wink), trying to navigate their lives in "Park Slob" (honestly, I learned so many new awesome words in this book, it almost felt like I was studying for the SATs). Rebecca, who many say is clearly based on Sohn herself, is a freelance writer who's married to a hot architect who won't fuck her--so she's taken to masturbating to Roman Polanski films while her daughter Abbie takes her afternoon naps. Lizzie is a "hasbian" (former lesbian), who threw in the towel, got married to some hip Black musician dude and popped out a bi-racial kid named Mance--but she misses vadge. Karen is a former social worker with an unfortunately named son, Darby, who's so caught up in the kiddie worship culture of Park Slope she goes cuckoo for cocoa puffs. And Melora Leigh, who seems loosely based on Jennifer Connelly, is a gorgeous, pill-addicted actress living in a beautiful mansion on PPW, with a hot Aussie husband, and an adopted son named Orion.

This book has every single, solitary Park Slope stereotype, called out in neon lights for all to see--and Sohn will likely get a lot of shit over that. Especially from the loudest and proudest stroller Nazis patrolling the streets (and the interwebs) of brownstone Brooklyn. But that's e-x-a-c-t-l-y why I loved this book and think it succeeds so well.

After all, Sohn IS a Park Slope mommy. And though the action certainly seems exaggerated at times, it was also never *that* hard for me to believe what was going on--most of which was totally fucking hilarious.

I mean, here's just a small smattering of the shit that goes down in PPW:

*A "swinging" Park Slope couple posts a notice on Park Slope Parents looking for others to swing with (their safe word is "Locavore").

*One of the characters is writing a modern-day, post 9/11 terrorist thriller screenplay set in Brooklyn called Atlantic Yards (!!??).

*One of the mommies catches her husband jerking off to transexual porn.

HYSTERICAL.

And, of course, the book also delves into many of the other stereotypes about both the neighborhood, and our culture in general: unsatisfying marriages, animosity over parenting responsibilities, loss of a sense of "self," the pressure to keep up, etc, and most of the time Sohn seems pretty spot on. Of course, I'm sure this is what will piss people off too--shit's gonna hit just a leetle too close to home.

I wasn't crazy about the few interstitial chapters peppered throughout the book, as I didn't really feel like they moved the story along. But as a N. Slope rez (who lives 3 blocks away from one of the main characters in the book), I LOVED all the real-life references to our actual neighborhood. Sohn included lots of local flavor, like the story of the dude who posted on Brownstoner after he got mugged in front of his house and was torn to shreds by the commenters, the "ghost bike" on President street commemorating the hit-and-run accident on the street's corner, life as a Park Slope Food Coop member (for the record: Amy Sohn is NOT our Coop Spy), and Boing Boing--a store I've never ventured into before because it sells nursing bras and nipple ointment, but apparently it's NY's first "babywearing and breastfeeding boutique."

There's also some fun celeb stuff in the book. And though the publisher and Sohn claim its all made up, it was seriously fun to read about a smug Maggie Gyllenhaal working her Coop shift, or Kate Hudson being a catty bitch to one of the characters. And since Sarah Jessica Parker has already optioned the book to turn into an HBO series, its going to be even more entertaining to watch as it all plays out across our flatscreens.

The book comes out on September 1st, so you bitches need to wait a week or so until you can get your mitts on one. Or you can buy one at one of Sohn's upcoming readings around BK in the next few weeks.

I have a blog that, almost exclusively, makes fun of Park Slope and the people who live here--so, yeah: I loved Prospect Park West. I thought it was hilariously funny, honest, bold and juicy as all get out.

In fact, I think Amy Sohn should officially be crowned as the neighborhood's first BR-ALLER--a BREEDER who's proven themselves to be cool enough that, despite their tendencies to procreate, can still maintain the basic principles of a BALLER attitude and lifestyle.

Congrats, Amy.

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