The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, July 17, 2003  

It’s a Strange City, But There are Those Who Love It

I haven’t read Jennifer Weiner’s books. To begin with, I read very little contemporary fiction, and “chick lit,” which in my opinion is not necessarily a disparaging term, isn’t really my thing.

But I have every reason to believe that Weiner’s work is excellent, as I’ve been given that message from several normally reliable sources. (No, not the sorely misguided friend who recommended The Bridges of Madison County: “I love this book! I love this book!” So I bought it. And it was and remains to this day the only book I ever have thrown away. Yes, it’s true. I did that. And I think throwing a book away is like some kind of mortal sin. But the notion that someone might see it on my bookshelves was too embarrassing to bear, so in the dark of night, into the trash it went.)

Parsing through Weiner’s blog, SnarkSpot (Damn good name, by the way. Wish I had thought of it. Maybe that’s why she’s received a two-book deal valued “well into the seven figures” and I haven’t.) and her other web site, as well as various links from there, and by the way, don’t miss Weiner’s entertaining and informative essay, “For Writers,” I came across this comment in Philadelphia Weekly (June 26, 2002):

“I got a lot of email thanking me for setting the book somewhere other than New York or Los Angeles,” says Weiner. “In a way the city became another character in the story.”

See, now that’s cool. Refreshing. Different. Strong. Self-confident.

I love this town. And it’s great when a woman who could live anywhere -- and, of course, set her novels anywhere -- stays close to home, to Philadelphia, the strangest city you’ll ever love.

On a final note, Weiner reports at SnarkSpot that her dog Wendell is recovering from the vicious and unprovoked attack he received earlier this summer in Philadelphia’s Queen Village neighborhood, as detailed at SnarkSpot and here at Rittenhouse. Oh, and Wendell’s going to be in the movie!

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