Heather, the Totality

Pub Date   |   Archive Date 01 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

I am really struggling with this review. There were things that I liked about this one and things that didn't quite work for me. Since finishing, I've heard several interviews with the author and that has given me a bit more of a positive perspective than I had when I initially finished. I know much of the buzz for this one came from the fact that the author is well known for his work with Mad Men. After hearing him talk about this book and his intention in writing it, I definitely had a better feeling about the book as a whole. I suspect this is due to the fact that this book covers some topics that aren't easy to read. I also heard someone say something very negative about...

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There are two ways to approach Matthew Weiner’s novella, Heather, the Totality – take it at face value or ponder Weiner’s broader commentary.

Should you take it at face value, you’re in for a ripping afternoon’s read. It’s the fast-paced story of Karen and Mark Breakstone, whose only child, Heather, is the centre of their world. But someone enters Heather’s life who threatens the family’s perfect Manhattan existence.

If you want more to think about, Heather, the Totality offers opportunity to consider the influence of one’s upbringing (particularly poverty versus wealth); the impact of social inequity; and what justifies particular actions.

Weiner expertly creates memorable characters...

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Book Review: Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner 11/30/17
Published by Little, Brown and Company
November 7, 2017

This is a book about a small family: Father, Mother and Daughter. It’s a New York story. A look at the detail of emotions behind their lives. The book reads like an extended short story. It’s a thriller, with a neatly wrapped up ended. Very well written and highly recommended. 

Reviewed on NetGalley, Facebook, Amazon and Goodreads.
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To begin with, this book is entirely too short to be considered a novel, and too long to be a short story, so…a novella it is. And to summarize, well, the title makes it kind of obvious. It’s about Heather. From the early pre-Heather days in her parent’s relationship to the day when, as a teenager, her life sits on a dangerous precipice, unbeknownst to her.

At first, it seems to be a character study of Heather, and it definitely is that. It isn’t especially dramatic, no real deep dive emotionally, and as fiction goes, not a lot happens. Two people become a couple. Then they have a child and she is their everything. The child grows and connects and changes and learns and grows and changes...

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I apologize but I did not have time to read this book before the publication date
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My Thoughts: Heather, the Totality’s author, Matthew Weiner, is the creator of the much loved TV show Mad Men, so my expectations were high for his debut. In the beginning, I liked Weiner’s matter-of-fact writing style. He laid out the two main characters, Mark and Karen Breakstone, very simply and quickly. I assumed as the story progressed, he’d more fully flesh them out. He didn’t. Maybe that was the point of this novella. I’m still not really sure whether i missed something or whether Weiner, just didn’t deliver.

For me, the entire story was very one-dimensional. None of the characters ever had any depth to their development and one, construction worker Bobby Klosky, was pathetically...

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The Breakstone family thought they were doing everything right. A husband with a good job to support his family comfortably in a Manhattan apartment, a stay at home mom who showers their daughter with love and affection, and a beautiful daughter with incredible empathy, intelligence, and beauty. But that's just the view from the surface. Underneath there are marital issues, a lack of privacy for Heather, the daughter, and resentment running rampant through the entire family. Heather's magnetism draws in people of all kinds. When darkness gets too close to the Breakstone daughter, it brings out a darkness in the entire family.

I saw this book everywhere recently, and when I...

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Due to the recent revelations of Matthew Weiner's behavior, I will not be reviewing or reading this book.
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Thanks, NetGalley for the ARC - I was unfortunately unable to read this one.
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Matthew Weiner is a very successful screenwriter and my advice to him is : Keep your day job. I don't know whether to title this review Mad Man or Heather Gets Totaled. The conceit is something out of Dostoyevsky but it plays like a bad dream. There is no rhyme or reason why Mark and Bobby come together, why Heather is oblivious to what is happening around her and why Karen turns into some Bizarro World Stepford wife. The writing is hardly diversionary; it's sophomoric and trite. What's with the caps? This Author hopefully will find an Editor next time who will send him back to class.
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Interesting novella--sort of a fleshed out storyboard, no dialogue. Mark and Karen marry, have a beautiful daughter they name Heather and live a comfortable, if not totally happy, life in NYC. A young man with a very different kind of background is part of a construction team working on their condo building. Mark starts to worry when he sees the guy eyeing his daughter. Strange ending with a bit of a twist.

Thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read an arc of this story.
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Short, to the point and a little shocking. It will take you an hour or two, try it.

First line: Mark and Karen Breakstone got married a little late in life.

Last line: Heather was touched by the tragedy and marked the spot with flowers and Mark and Karen waited a full month before putting their apartment on the market.
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expectations probably nuked this novel. while not poorly crafted or written, the prose is adequate, the story is, at best, problematic and, most likely and at worst, wretched and toxic told for no need or reason by someone who has been revealed to be less than savory

there wasn't any moment when I felt engaged or interested in the narrative. also, this book reveals just how much of Mad Men Weiner wasn't responsible for, didn't write--ie, the good, complicated parts
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No character development and no dialogue.  Maybe novellas just aren't for me.
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Intense, obsession, neurotic - a very strange little tale. A family that worships their only daughter way to much and they don't care much for each other. A daughter whose character is not very developed and is not a redeeming person. Then there is a psychopath who is extremely despicable - this character is written as if it is trying to convince us that if you come from a bad home (even though his is a terrifically bad one) that it is OK or a given for you to become a murderous psychopath. The fact is that I could not find a way to like any of the characters. They have no redeeming traits and the story line is just too disturbing in the worst way. Also a sad betrayal of women!...

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Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner is a short so-so debut novel.

Mark and Karen Breakstone live a very comfortable life in Manhattan and have an adored daughter, Heather. Heather is beautiful, intelligent and empathetic. After Heather is born, Karen devotes all her time and attention to her, leaving Mark out. Mark resents Karen's over-protectiveness and feels he has to compete in order to spend a small amount of time with Heather. Tensions between Mark and Karen escalate. Heather grows up and is aware of their strained relationship.

In stark contrast to the lives of the Breakstones, Bobby Klasky grew up in an unstable home, living in poverty with a drug addicted mother and her...

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This novella length work is not a book at all.  It's the treatment you would write for a movie or the outline and biographies that you would write before you wrote the actual book.  There is no dialogue, just a recitation of people doing or thinking things.  Rather than being suspenseful, the whole thing just felt sort of sleazy and leering.  There is no way that this would have been published if the author had not been the creator of Mad Men. It was hugely disappointing.  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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An unhappy couple from the fringes of society produces an "It girl." They deal with their unhappiness and obsession around Heather. Weird take on parenting, but a quick and satisfying read.
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This is a tale of two families, one of privilege and another of poverty. Karen and Mark Breakstone are comfortably ensconced in a spacious Manhattan apartment with their adolescent daughter, Heather. Bobby Klasky is a 30-ish day laborer who grew up in drug-ridden squalor in a New Jersey slum.

The Breakstone family is child-centric; everything revolves around their perfect child. Bobby Klasky was born in a setting of neglect. Oddly, his only positive social support comes is the parole officer he connects with after committing a crime.

Written in a breezy style, Matthew Weiner’s tale of how these two disparate worlds intersect is gripping. The reader knows something bad is about to happen...

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