Alternate Side

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 21 May 2018

Member Reviews

Anna Quindlen is a fantastic writer. I am not always ready to read her, however, because sometimes she can be a bit heavy but I her writing is so well done. I found this to be on par with what to expect from her-very good writing.
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I love Anna Quindlen's books, so I was very much looking forward to checking out this new one. While I loved the depiction of a marriage going through changes, both good and bad, I found some of the plotlines lacking in depth. I would still recommend this book to a friend and think Quindlen is a very talented writer.
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I loved Anna Quindlen’s Blessings and Black and Blue., and I was excited to read Alternate Side I kept waiting to be taken away by this novel. It seems to be an in-depth study of characters that went nowhere. This book was not my cup of tea. Disappointing for me. I appreciate the opportunity to read this book from NetGalley.
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Thank you netgalley and the publisher for this ARC.
This book was slow, could not keep my interest. Too many characters to keep track and they just didn’t pull me in the story.
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Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.  As always,  Anna Quindlen delivers.  This is another well-written book that is engaging.  I recommend it.
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I have read many books by Anna Quinlain before. I was excited to read her newest novel. I was very disappointed. If you like character study this book is up your alley. 

This is a very quiet and slow moving. Perhaps she meant it that way. Because the story is a quiet, and well to do family in NYC. Her kids in college. Then it picks up the pace after page 100. 

Then something happens. One of the neighbors blows his gasket because someone has taken his parking spot. Everyone can can relate to how precious it is in NYC. The neighbor attacks the other guy. Who is hispanic,  and happens to do work for some of the neighbors. 

Sides are picked. Perceptions are made. Who was in the wrong? What did you see? Husband and wife are at odds with each other. Arguements persue because of his nationality. Things are said they can be said is racist. This is probably the best part of the book. Because of the social justice, and the arguement. 
The reason I gave it a three was because it was very slow moving. But, the writing was beautiful, and the community argument gave you something to think about. I can see a book club discussion about perception, and racism being brought up.
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I usually love Anna Quindlen’s books but this one was a let down for me.  The characters never seemed to come alive and the plot was very slow moving.
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It took me a while to sink my teeth into this book but, once it got going, I enjoyed the exploration of Nora's relationships - with her husband, her neighbours, her children, her boss, her friends, and Phil (who was my favourite character by far).

I thought the author did a good job with detailing how relationships change as people grow and change themselves.  It is said that people have a place in someone's life for a reason and, in most cases, a season.  In many cases, friendships fade through no particular fault; paths diverge and one finds, as Nora did, that there is not much in common anymore.  

I hadn't read anything by Anna Quindlen before, and in checking, was not surprised to learn she was based out of New York; Nora's relationship with New York City figures prominently in this book, which I also enjoyed.
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In Alternate Side by Anna Quindlan Nora is married to Charlie, they have two children, now in college.  They live in New York City in a very tight knit white neighborhood. The kind that celebrates holidays together, that stop and talk to one another in the streets, that know each other’s children. When the man who does home maintenance in the neighborhood is attacked by one of the home owners the tight knit neighborhood begins to fall apart as well as marriages as the neighbors learn not everyone views race the same.  

I enjoyed Alternate Side and not only the themes of race and immigrants but also the theme of how well we really know those we see everyday. I loved how the setting of New York City was almost a character or part of the plot. I feel the story would have a much different feel to it if it was set in another city. 

The narration goes back and forth between past and present and sometimes I had a difficult time recognizing if I was reading a memory or if we were in the present. 

In many ways this is a sad story but it was one I really enjoyed reading.
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I always love to get my hands on the newest Anna Quindlen Book.  While I enjoyed the book, I found it just mediocre.  The characters weren't all that likable and I thought the book dragged.  Not one of my favorites.
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I am middle of the road on this Anna Quindlen novel. It seemed a little slow to get started, I'd actually say it was a gentle read. The main character is layered enough to be interesting but never became compelling for me. Actually I found the secondary characters a bit more complex and interesting.  The story of a marriage became stronger in the second half. Alternate Side could become a book discussion selection as it seems to engender ratings all over the spectrum.
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Anna Quindlan is one of my favorites. This novel was more sobering than some, including as it did, the narrow thinking of (supposedly) liberal wealthy New Yorkers. I liked the fact that Nora came to some peace regarding her new life--but it was bittersweet.
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I love this author but this is not a favorite.  I found none of the characters likeable or interesting.
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4* review
This new novel by an author I always enjoy, both her fiction and non-fiction, started out slowly and I was not at first impressed by it.  I kept reading because, after all she is a favorite author of mine.  But also, I grew up in lower Manhattan and even though I did not drive until I moved out of ‘the city’, I do remember the Alternate Side of the Street Parking.   However, the title of “Alternate Side” can refer to a few things in this story, which is something I like.   
I just didn’t seem to care about some of the characters but the writing and storyline kept me going and after a while I was totally caught up in the goings-on and wanted to see how it all turned out.  Again, good book by this author.
Thank you to Net Galley, the publisher and author for this advance copy and I apologize for not getting around to writing my honest opinion earlier.
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It was a pretty good read with definitely a lot going on in it. I do appreciate her style of writing and the story itself was relatable.
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Have you ever read one of those books where you don't know what the point is or where it's going -- but then you get to the end and you realize you're totally blown away? That's how I felt about Anna Quindlen's new novel, Alternate Side. It felt so un-Quindlen-like to me. Where her earlier novels have had very strong plots, where you read on largely to find out what happens next, this book is much more subtle and character-driven. The story ostensibly revolves around a disturbing incident that affects the people who live or work on a small, exclusive New York City block -- but it's really about family and marriage and community: what keeps us together and what drives us apart and how very fragile our connections really are. If this is the Quindlen's approach to fiction going forward, I can't wait for her next one!
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Anna Quindlen has been a favorite author of mine for years, so I was excited to read her latest book.  I do love character driven novels like this where they tell you all sides of the story, but there were sooooo many characters and felt it went way into detail and lost me.  Was there a plot, maybe several plots I just got confused?  I couldn't find any characters I really gravitated towards either, none were enjoyable to read about.  It was actually difficult to finish, but I always finish since I always want to know the whole story.
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Alternate Side is an interesting thought-provoking story. Nora's life might seem ideal on paper, but it's pretty superficial and empty. Her neighbors aren't particularly kind, her husband isn't actually present, even when he's there, and nobody seems to care very much about each other. Her life evolves around having a certain status, but what does getting that much desired parking spot truly have to offer? I loved how Anna Quindlen portrays her characters, she gives her readers a fantastic peek in an unbalanced, hollow life filled with meaninglessness that's being given the appearance of importance, while in reality it is nothing. I loved that idea for a story. She writes about what matters by showing her readers what clearly doesn't, a fabulous contradiction that I greatly admire.
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This was my first time reading Anna Quindlen and I am SOLD. Although I'm not a New Yorker, I have a complicated love/hate relationship with the city and could so easily relate to many of the trials of New York life & more simply, a woman's life at a crossroads. I loved how, despite the clear focus of First World Problems here, Quindlen touches upon women's issues, class/poverty, infidelity, and mental illness. Each affect us everyday and I was glad to see the pontificating on them all in this novel.

Nora Nolan's fraternal twins Rachel & Oliver are entering their final year of college, she is successfully running a relatively new jewelry museum, her husband, Charlie, is excited to have finally gotten an assigned space in the lot on their block for a car they (certainly she) rarely use. All of the small-town life drama translated to a single dead-end block in Manhattan, Nora loves to hate a select few of her neighbors (GEORGE!!!) for their busybody behaviors or their classist attitudes. Their little slice of the city makes big news when one such snob (Jack) is so incensed when their handyman's (Enrique's) van is blocking the lot, that he proceeds to take a golf club to the side of the vehicle, and then to the other man's leg when he tries to intervene. It would have been big news anywhere but it breaks the neighbors into subtly warring factions and Nora & Charlie find themselves on opposite sides. 

Beautiful writing focuses on Nora's POV as she wonders about whether or not she should prioritize her marriage by leaving the city for good (Charlie often responds to her city-specific complaints by reminding her that they can sell the house, make a nice profit, and go live anywhere else), if she should consider the job offer coming from Charlie's boss, and if just like alternate side parking messes up a couple mornings per week, if there's an alternate life/lives which she messed up by making any number of missteps in her current life.
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC of this book.
This was my first Anna Quindlen read and won't be my last. I enjoyed her development of characters and their relationships. Having grown up in a small town, I found the pocket neighborhood in NYC interesting as it was so similar to what I grew up with. But most of all, I found her grasp of marriage relationships to be most insightful. #AlternateSide #NetGalley
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