How the Other Half Hamptons
Author: Jasmin Rosemberg
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: 5 Spot
One house. Forty strangers. Add vodka and stir . . .
Every summer, scores of Manhattan twentysomethings take part in an annual ritual with a camp-like culture distinctly its own: the Hamptons sharehouse. When Rachel and her two best friends buy their shares for twenty times each of their bank balances, they're imagining days filled with lazy suntanning and classy clambakes and nights spent rubbing shoulders with the Olsen twins and other celebrities. But once they arrive at 1088 Montauk Highway on Memorial Day weekend, they find that the reality falls a bit short.
What looks like any other million-dollar mansion--on the outside--plays host to drunken escapades, explicit nudity, hot tub hookups, hideous hangovers, and juvenile mischief on the inside. As housemates jockey for limited bathroom time and beer pong mania takes over the house, Rachel finds herself wondering if it's possible to find true love--or even just survive the summer--in The Hamptons.
What a funny and amazing story!
When one thinks of the Hamptons, that bastion of wealth and power, the word 'exclusive' comes to mind. Rosemberg, however, provides an entirely new (somewhat sleazier) introduction to the Hamptons via the concept of share houses - a concept that boggles the mind, for it's true, in real life! Forty strangers living under one roof - bring your own bedding, bunk down in any free bed for yours is most likely occupied, beware of lurkers who are not above midnight groping and try to sleep despite the couple copulating next to you. And all for the privilege of getting drunk and to most extent, hasty and temporary hook-ups - all in the Hamptons. Yes indeed, mind-boggling is the word!
That is the one reasons I read this novel faster than you say the title, although I did find it a tad repetitive (drunken hook-ups, night-clubbing, adolescent shenanigans, again and again - it tends to pall after a while). I just couldn't wrap my mind around it. Drunken sororities are one thing, but these are adults, young twenty-something NY professionals. That they would pay good money (and by that I mean in the thousands) for the privilege of being in a share house (see above description) is just - well, I'm getting repetitive now- hard to digest. But then, as a New York Post "Hamptons" columnist, Jasmin Rosemberg certainly knows what she's writing about. The book rings with authenticity and brings it to startling life.
But I digress. With ample doses of humor, wit and sarcasm, Rosemberg shows all this through the eyes and experiences of her three main characters, Rachel, Jamie and Allison. Three women, three different reasons for spending Summer weekends crammed in a share house like sardines in a tin. Rachel is there to find a meaningful relationship, Jamie to avoid one and Allison to get over one. With laughter and tears, friendship and rivalry, the three women's lives are changed forever and they get new insight into their own minds and motivations.
It's entertaining. It's certain to evoke nostalgia in some, and an eye-opener for others (ike myself, unaware of the concept of share-houses). And it's a good story. Perfect beach read, actually.
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