Sunday, March 7, 2010

Review: "The Heights" by Peter Hedges

Tim and Kate Welch are an average middle-class couple who live in The Heights, a decidedly upscale neighborhood. Tim is a history teacher at a local private school and Kate is a stay-at-home mom to their two little boys, trying to be the kind of mother that she didn't have growing up. When Kate is offered the oportunity to return to work and make more money than they are used to seeing on an average paycheck, Tim decides to take a year off and get better aquainted with his sons.

Enter Anna Brody, the woman who has just purchased the most expensive brownstone in The Heights along with her elusive husband. For some unknown reason Anna sets her sights on Tim and Kate and decides to bring them into her priviledged circle while the rest of the neighborhood looks on in awe. Anna is not always what she appears to be and as she becomes closer to the Welch's, she begins to turn their safe little world upside-down.

I loved The Heights! Peter Hedges has a talent for pinpointing the truths of the rhythm of a middle-class family. I had to laugh in the first couple of chapters when Kate calls Tim to rejoice about their son pooping on the potty. How true! It is the little things in life that parents often treasure and celebrate, and Hedges has captured some of these moments beautifully and with accuracy.

This novel was written with both humour and real emotion as Tim and Kate evaluate their marriage and how hard they are willing to fight for the life that they have created together. I couldn't put it down, curious as to how this couple's story would end and hoping that it would not end like so many others. At once honest, accurate and compelling, I recommend this to anyone who has ever been part of the middle-class.

Thank-you to Penguin Canada's Exclusive Reads Program for this review copy! You can read an excerpt of this novel here or find out more about Peter Hedges (author of What's Eating Gilbert Grape and the screenplay for About a Boy, as well as the writer-director of Dan in Real Life) here.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Recommended to: Fiction lovers and anyone who has ever been a part of the middle-class
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge 2010


  1. Great review!

    I have this on my shelf t-b-r, and I'm glad it has decent reviews. Makes it easier to want to read.

  2. Jonita...awesome review. This book is one I will surely read soon. You made it sound so great.