NOTTING HELL by Rachel Johnson

NOTTING HELL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Lifestyles of the very rich and morally ambivalent, from Johnson (The Mummy Diaries, 2004, etc.).

Notting Hill is home to many of London’s hyper-wealthy families. By and large, these status-hungry multi-millionaires have made their money in banking. And being of the competitive sort, they love to flaunt their success. Clare and Mimi are two middle-aged women deeply invested in the Notting Hill community. Mimi is a harried wife and mother of three. She and her husband inherited their home, and they don’t quite mesh with their new, ostentatious neighbors. Mimi’s a horrendous housekeeper and has to work part-time to keep her family solvent. Clare, though, maintains a fastidious home—all shining steel and gleaning marble—with a limitless budget and plenty of time on her hands. Clare fills her days with New Age therapies and obsesses about her inability to conceive. Beneath their disparate exteriors, Mimi and Clare share two traits: They are relentless busybodies, and they are consumed by envy. Mimi lusts after the trappings of wealth (the cars, the country homes, the support staffs) of her neighbors. Clare pines for a family of her own and covets her neighbors’ children. Both Clare and Mimi take misguided paths to satisfy their cravings. In this modern morality tale, in which women strive for perfect bodies, maintain camera-ready homes and cultivate their offspring to replicate their twisted vision of success, salvation lies in shunning extravagance and breaking from the fold.

A tasty look at the price of excess.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2007
ISBN: 1-4165-3176-9
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2007