Cover Image: The Exhibitionist

The Exhibitionist

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Member Reviews

This book was hard to read.  Every person in it was struggling.  I read to escape the struggles of everyday.  Or I at least want to see people be able to achieve a turn around.  These poor people struggled the whole way through.  I would not recommend this book if you want something to pick you up or make you feel good.  I felt myself wanting to yell at them the entire time to stand up for themselves and do better.  Ugh.  It was a struggle.
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This wasn't my favorite. Though I am a picky reader and try not to let that sway my buying decisions for the library, I think this is one we can take a pass on.
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A dynamic family drama full of loathsome characters, bad behavior, and life-changing decisions. 

Lucia is a talented artist, always running from the cusp of fame lest her success upset her husband, Ray. An artist with a declining reputation, Ray Hanrahan, is a terrible, petty, narcissist. We join them over the course of a weekend during which Ray is mounting an exhibition of his work that he is sure will put him on top of the art world and during which Lucia is grappling with whether she should start thinking about her own needs for a change. 

There are many characters and several sub-plots and the author does a great job of balancing it all. The writing is crisp and the story is engaging (I hated Ray and had to keep reading to see if he would get a comeuppance for his behavior!). 

Thank you very much to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a copy.
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The book itself is well written but it’s a subject I find very hard and was altering my mood. It’s too bleak and sad and at about 40% thru I’m having to put it in my dnf pile.
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I found the pacing a bit slow at times throughout the book, in fact nothing much happens but I found myself thinking about the characters a lot. I thought the final explosion was going to be bigger- it's almost as though the author didn't know how to end it.
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This cover is amazing. It draws you in…. Into a moody egotistical man artist that treats his wife like ass. 

Whew buddy, this one is hard for me to get through. Art school graduate here— If you have attended an art school, you’ve met this man— Ugh, nah. Pass. 

I’ll try to get over the unlikable guy another time, but for now— it’s 2 stars with a bonus star because it’s not fair to rate a book that got on my nerves so bad I couldn’t get through it. 

I love the cover though.
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From the moment I started this book, I hated the husband like immediately. His sexism and control of his wife is just so grosss, and yet, tells a compelling real story 0f how I imagine many heterosexual couples in creative fields may feel with one another. He comes from a certain time, and seeing how his ego has stunted his wife and children is infuriating and yet compulsive readable. Well written
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The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson is an amazing satire about a severely toxic family dynamic. 

The Hanrahan family’s world revolves around the narcissistic head of the household, Ray Hanrahan. Former artist extraordinaire. His selfless wife, Lucia, who was Ray’s former art student, and a brilliant artist herself, is dealing with the divide between her three children and her toxic husband, and the idea that maybe her life can change for the better. Leah, who takes her father’s side; Patrick, who is Ray’s step-son and has severe anxiety; and Jess, the youngest and who moved away to Scotland. 

The novel evolves around everyone coming home for the weekend for Ray’s first art exhibition in many years. It is told around the point-of-views of the children and Lucia with the stress they feel around Ray, and the stresses of their own lives. 

You finish this novel with an imperfect resolution and desire to set everyone free from Ray. Perfect story of a dysfunctional family with no true likable character.
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I received an early copy of this book, and though the writing was lovely, I just couldn’t get through it. The story of infidelities, mental and emotional abandonment, and dysfunction were too much. I don’t think this Janine I would have picked up on my own, but I was intrigued by the synopsis. I will not post this review online, as I didn’t finish the book.
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Wow, what a ride! I absolutely adored this book and could not put it down. Mendelson tells a multi-faceted story of a dysfunctional family: tiny moments and memories sprinkled throughout, creating a mosaic of abuse, jealousy, betrayal, and missed opportunities to right the sinking ship. This book reads like a dark comedy, with funny moments interlaced with raw emotion. Mendelson's writing style is stunning and unique, a novel deserving of a slow read, though the intensity makes it difficult to resist binge-reading it in a night. 

The multi-POV novel is centered on a middle-aged married couple; the husband being a once-successful artist and his student-turned-wife who put her talent on the backburner to placate his jealousy. They've raised three, maladjusted adult children who each have their own set of unique challenges, largely due to being raised by a narcissistic father (Ray) and an absent-minded mother (Lucia). 

Ray is an emotionally abusive husband and father, burnt out artist, and his own biggest fan. Lucia loves him endlessly regardless of his condescending insults and open-handed adultery. In fact, Lucia just loves love. She prioritizes her husband over her children and her career, and later, ends up prioritizing her affair over her children and career as well. Even outside of her abusive marriage, she falls in love with another emotionally unavailable person and sacrifices everything to make that work. Ray is definitely the villain of the story, but Lucia's behavior highlight how emotional abuse leads to cyclical behavior.

Ray's narcissistic behavior does a number on his children; his stepson (Patrick) is mentally unstable and trying to recover from a mental breakdown, but every move towards independence is shot down. The idea of him getting better and leaving the family is unacceptable to Ray, for Patrick is a house-slave, treated like his whole purpose is to be around to fix the plumbing and take care of the yard. Leah, the eldest daughter, is the apple of her daughter's eye, and Ray uses her like a personal assistant/human cane. Her whole life revolves around her father's needs and approval, and any change to that risks unraveling her position in the family. Lastly we have the youngest, Jessica, who broke away and moved far, far away. But distance alone cannot heal her feelings of rejection, and she remains both physically and emotionally distant from everyone, including her partner. 

The book brings all of these characters together under one roof for a weekend, to celebrate Ray's new art exhibition and decades of bottled-up emotion rise to the surface. 

The characters are unlikable, the resolution is imperfect, but I walked away wanting to embrace the three children, punch Ray, and set Lucia free. Beautifully done peak into a shattered, middle-class family. In Mendelson's words, "Hearts are elastic, but only to a point."
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This was a very frustrating book to get through. I am not used to reading about a female that just gives up and gives in to the whim of her husband to appease his every need.  It seemed very damning to her reputation but she did not stand up for herself when she really should have. 

It was an interesting dynamic of all of the relationships, how they intertwined and how they affected each other.  The ending seemed unfinished and was disappointing.  

It was kind of confusing at times, the book did drag and I would most likely not recommend it to any of my friends.
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Unfortunately The Exhibitionist never pulled me in nor did it keep my interest. I tried and eventually DNF'd during the 5th chapter. I hate to say that because I'm sure this book would appeal to readers who enjoy this sort of story. 

I typically enjoy books like this and I can't put my finger on why I never connected with these characters, but I didn't. I'm sorry.
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This was a strange novel that I enjoyed but struggled through. The text was a bit hard to read and I found it hard to understand, but I overall enjoyed where the story went.
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I really enjoyed reading this story, it was what I was expecting from the description. The way this was written was so well done and Charlotte Mendelson has a great writing style. I was hooked on what was going on and loved getting to know the main characters. It was what I was hoping for.

“Mmmhm. Whereas, apparently, I was both Paki and coconut. And she’d cry at the thought of her family, who looked down on her for marrying a Gujarati man. But she, she wanted me to be the best.” “Were you?” “Mostly, yes. And at least I got married when all my cousins did. Major issue. And a Hindu.”
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The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson is a wonderfully written novel. 
My first novel by this author and I'm already ready to read anotherone.
The way Charlotte Mendelson developes a realistic family filled with many issues was amazing.
Our characters here you will dislike and or enjoy! I had a mix feeling of both. 
They all have their faults, and they have plenty, I loved getting to know Lucia and Ray and following their journey. 
This story is humorous, fun and very entertaining. I like how the writing and characters kept me engaged throughout. 
A beautiful prose and a perfectly plotted novel. 
A contemporary fiction of a dysfunctional family. 

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

St. Martin's Press,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
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While this is a book billed as a comedy (furiously funny,..) I would say more of a satire. Whatever you are looking for, I definitely recommend!

 The unfortunate Lucia, a skilled painter has stayed in a loveless marriage with a despicable and generally talentless artist named Ray. Their two children have split down the middle regarding sides with Leah taking Lucia's  spot as the "supportive partner" and Jess leaving the family house and trying to stay as far away from the issues as she can. The house itself, a mansion that Ray built and is ruling into ruin, is falling apart much like everything associated with this family. The plot of the book is focused upon a single weekend when Ray is attempting an artistic comeback via his daughter Leah that will put him and his work on the map.

In the book, Ray takes every opportunity to belittle and insult the family members - he is so utterly unlikeable I can't imagine that he actually keeps the group of sycophants that protect his fragile ego.  He is so immersed in himself that he does not realize that his wife is emerging from a cocoon - about to be a star. Lucia has done her best to coddle Ray but a chance encounter has now ignited a flame of interest in her - will it be enough to break her free of his iron grip? What will happen when the entire family comes home for Ray's exhibition?

I really loved this book! I enjoyed hating Ray and Mendelson paints a realistic family filled with many issues.  There  are many conflicts, near misses, ironic moments and of course the exciting climax and conclusion. If you love contemporary issue based fiction, dysfunctional families stuck in a home together, or just love beautiful prose and a perfectly timed plot, The Exhibitionist is for you! #STMartinsPress
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This book raised my hackles in the first chapter.  It didn't get any better in the second or the third.  Perhaps it was just in comparison to a five-star rated book I just finished, but I literally could not continue reading.  I had nothing but dislike for every character and the art scene described was simply way over my head.  

I am so sorry to have been unable to finish reading this book. I only very rarely give up and not finish once I have started.  Well, life's too short.
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This book was recommended and I thought why not, give it a try. And trying it was. This new to me author wrote a story I could not easily connect with.
The Hanrahan family, Ray, a one time artist who's star long burned out, his wife Lucia, an artist herself, selfless to a fault, sacrificing her own calling and happiness and their three grown children. All together are caught in a story that I just find distancing, the story, the writing, I just couldn't connect. But I really liked the cover, so a paperback on the shelf would look really pretty.
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