ARC review: The Bitches of Brooklyn by Rosemary Harris

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I really, really don’t like to give negative reviews. Especially one star reviews. Because, you know, I don’t want to deter potential readers just because something wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. Usually I’ll throw a book in the DNF pile before rating one star. But the thing is, the one star option was put there for a reason, and occasionally you have to use it.

The Bitches of Brooklyn starts out well enough. Five lifelong friends head out to Cape Cod for their annual weekend away, leaving behind husbands, children, work, etc to focus on their friendship and themselves for a couple days. Four friends arrive. The fifth sends a note saying she’s not coming. Oh, and a message – “I’ve run off with one of your men.” What ensues is each woman doubting her marriage/relationship and secretly believing that her significant other has left her for her friend. To make matters worse, none of the women are able to get in touch with their partners. Would Abby really run off with one of their men? Would their husbands/partners really do that to them? Who is the least trustworthy of them? Who is having the most problems in their relationship?

The initial premise is fine. It’s everything else that’s awful. The Bitches of Brooklyn could have been a deep and meaningful novel about women really analyzing their lives and the way they interact with their partners, and delving into the true nature of their friendships, but it wasn’t. (What did I expect, with a title like this?) It was a silly little fluffy novel where the women do stupid things like break into the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens or take a several hour break to have a leisurely dinner while their lives are falling to pieces.

Abby is the only character who stands out. (Well, Abby and Tina. Tina only because I love Bob’s Burgers and I kept envisioning Tina Belcher as an older, married woman.) The rest of the women run together, to the point where I can barely remember their names, and I just finished this book last night. Abby only stands out because she doesn’t show up to the weekend getaway, so she’s separate from everything that’s going on.

The writing is awful – I know I was reading an uncorrected proof, but COME ON. I would be embarrassed to hand out ARCs in this condition. I would say that at least half of the punctuation was missing. Many sentences are unattributed to any characters, and since the characters all have the same voice, it’s impossible to know who’s speaking. The mystery is laughable, and several plot points are brought about with no resolution. (Example: the dead girl at the train station.) I had difficulty finishing this book. I nearly threw it in the DNF pile on more than one occasion.

I’m not sure that I can recommend this book to anyone. I feel like if there’s an audience for it, it’s very limited. Flip through the book prior to buying it to make sure that the punctuation and editing errors have been fixed.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Final rating: ★☆☆☆☆